Saturday 24 March 2018

Ex FG Cllr Fred Forsey’s young lover vows to stand by him as he serves 4 years for corruption

Fred Foresey's ex-wife Jenny and daughter Amy – who got a text message from Mr Forsey which was intended for his lover – outside court during the trial
Karen Morrissey, who bears a striking resemblance to Mr Forsey's ex-wife, pictured during the trial

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

FRED Forsey's young lover is standing by the corrupt ex-councillor while he serves a four-year jail term for taking bribes from a millionaire property developer.

Karen Morrissey (26) will continue her relationship with the former deputy mayor of Dungarvan while he is behind bars.

Fred Forsey (43) left his wife Jenny (42) for his mistress in 2006 after he mistakenly exposed the affair himself by sending a text meant for his lover to his teenage daughter.

He wooed Ms Morrissey before her 21st birthday with a €2,200 diamond engagement ring while he was still married to Jenny.

Sources close to the couple last night said Ms Morrissey was "devastated" by the sentence but has vowed to "stand by" Forsey.

Ms Morrissey wept in court and covered her face as the sentence was read out, but while Forsey made eye contact with his lover, he did not break down.

Jenny Forsey did not attend yesterday's sentencing hearing and no longer has contact with her ex-husband. They had three children together, who are now aged 20, 18 and 15.

The latest chapter in the saga described as a "sordid tale of sex, lies and corruption" unfolded in the Dublin Courts of Criminal Justice yesterday when Judge Gerard Griffin sentenced the ex-Dungarvan town councillor to six years with two suspended for pocketing €80,000 in bribes in return for planning favours.

With automatic discount, Forsey is expected to serve three years of his four-year sentence.

He spent his first night in Mountjoy jail last night, but he is likely to be moved to the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise to serve out the sentence.

The high-profile trial had heard how Forsey lobbied Waterford county councillors to get agricultural lands rezoned for industrial/residential use.

Rezoning the land, which was in an isolated area some miles outside of the town centre, stood to boost its value up to tenfold.

Waterford County Council rezoned the lands for industrial use while the garda investigation into Forsey was under way. However, their actions were reversed by then Environment Minister John Gormley who considered it a bad planning decision.

In sentencing, Judge Griffin blasted Forsey for "gravely" breaching the trust of the Dungarvan electorate.

He quoted from the Mahon Tribunal report which described corruption as a "deeply corrosive force".

Judge Griffin said victims of corruption were "too many to be individually identified".

The judge praised the "civic mindedness" of Jenny Forsey who gave evidence against her ex-husband.

He said there had been a "virulent attack" on her in the witness box. During her ex-husband's trial last month, Jenny Forsey was accused of being a woman "scorned" who was "out for revenge".


Explosive evidence of the breakdown of Forsey's marriage was heard at the trial after it emerged he mistakenly sent a text message meant for his mistress to his 15-year-old daughter.

Judge Griffin commended Jenny Forsey for "her bravery" in bringing the matter to Fine Gael TD John Deasy's attention. Mr Deasy advised Jenny Forsey to contact gardai on the matter, and she made a statement to detectives in April 2007.

Taking into account that Forsey "attempted to cover his tracks" by backdating a loan agreement between him and the developer, Judge Griffin said that his crime was on the "upper to mid-range" of the corruption scale.

Judge Griffin also said that the actions were at the "height of the Celtic Tiger" at a time when property prices were at an "all-time high".

The judge said if the development had proceeded outside of Dungarvan, he had "no doubt" the industrial park would be "vacant" and the "so-called 40 executive houses would be yet another ghost estate".

Forsey, who had been living in a hideaway with Ms Morrissey at Ballinacourty on the outskirts of Dungarvan until he was sent to prison yesterday, stood motionless while Judge Griffin read out his sentence.

His behaviour was in contrast to how he sobbed uncontrollably at his trial last month after a jury unanimously found him guilty on all six counts of corruption.

He had a large entourage of family members in court alongside Ms Morrissey.

The two factors in Forsey's favour were that he had no previous convictions and he came from a "respectable family", the judge said.

Forsey, who was investigated by Det Sgt Shay Keavens, was convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act. To date, he has not paid back a cent of the €80,000 he received from the developer but continues to maintain it was a loan.

He again took to the witness box yesterday and stated that he did not accept the jury's decision that he was guilty.

"No, I don't accept the verdict of the jury," he said.

Forsey's defence team indicated that their client would be appealing his sentence.

Irish Independent

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