Monday 23 April 2018

Ex-politician jailed for corruption starts two new firms with lover

Former politician Fred Forsey and his girlfriend Karen Morrissey
Former politician Fred Forsey and his girlfriend Karen Morrissey
Skincode in Waterford Industrial Park
Jenny Forsey

Ralph Riegel and Nicola Anderson

A former politician jailed for accepting corrupt payments has launched two new business ventures with the woman who stood by him throughout his dramatic trial.

Fred Forsey (45) has launched two business ventures in Waterford, one a stylish new beauty salon, with Karen Morrissey (29), the young woman for whom he left his wife.

Mr Forsey, a former Dungarvan Town Council member, admitted during his Waterford Circuit Criminal Court trial three years ago that he spent €35,000 in just five days, all while having an affair with Ms Morrissey behind his wife's back.

His wife and mother-of-three, Jenny, eventually asked him to leave the family home when details of his affair with Ms Morrissey emerged.

The breakdown in their relationship became a key element of Mr Forsey's high-profile trial.

Jenny Forsey ultimately gave evidence against him during the case.

Mr Forsey - who was released from Mountjoy Prison last spring - has launched two business ventures as he now rebuilds his life.

In one business endorsement he wrote: "If you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all."

He is listed as a co-director with Ms Morrissey of Hashtag Secrets.

The luxury beauty and hairdressing salon operates from the northern extension of the Waterford Industrial Park on the Cleaboy Road.

The company markets itself as "committed to delivering a fun, relaxing and personal (salon) experience that goes above and beyond your expectations".

Ms Morrissey said she had nothing to say when contacted at the Hashtag Secrets premises by the Irish Independent.

"I have absolutely no comment to make," she said.

Ms Morrissey confirmed that Mr Forsey was involved in the business.

"But I cannot comment for someone else. That is a matter for them."

Mr Forsey could not be contacted for comment.

However, on the Hashtag Secrets Facebook page, a reviewer purporting to be 'Fred Forsey' gave the company five stars, writing: "One amazing place, hashtag secrets is the best of the best the staff are so Professional and love what the do (sic), excellent service."

Meanwhile Mr Forsey also lists himself as chief executive of a Waterford-based beauty products distribution company, Skincode.

Skincode says it aims to distribute quality Swiss-formula beauty care products developed last century by a Russian prince.


The one-time Fine Gael councillor's former life unravelled after he woke up one morning to find his bags packed and he was "thrown out the front door".

A six-month-long affair with Ms Morrissey, the young woman he had met while teaching her to drive, had been exposed after he accidentally sent a text message intended for her, to his 15-year-old daughter instead.

Mr Forsey's wife, Jenny, was incandescent with rage and it was her statements to gardaí that led Mr Forsey to be, at first investigated, and later jailed for planning corruption.

During the trial at Waterford Circuit Court in May 2012, she revealed a gripping tale of sexual betrayal, marriage breakdown, financial woes and political corruption.

In 2006, the family were struggling financially, their only income the €150 Mr Forsey was making a week from his one-man driving school, along with the €65 a week he received from Dungarvan Town Council.

In July 2006, Jenny and Fred Forsey had gone to socialise in the Moorings pub in Dungarvan, where they met a number of people - including a "very wealthy" developer.

Ms Forsey told the court that her husband had spoken to him "for probably no more than 15 minutes". On the walk home from the pub, Mr Forsey told his wife: "I think I might get in with him."

The next month, Mr Forsey met the developer several times, telling his wife he was trying to have land outside Dungarvan rezoned.

That same month, Mr Forsey announced to his family that they were off on a surprise holiday to Rome, producing a wallet-full of cash.

In Rome, he admitted he had received €30,000 from the developer the day they flew out. In reality, the developer had given him twice that amount.

On their return, the Forseys went on a major spending spree, buying new windows, spending €5,000 on furniture, €1,600 on a new fireplace and €23,000 on two new cars.

But after the affair was uncovered two months later in October, the couple separated.

Ms Forsey admitted to once physically attacking his lover, Karen Morrissey, out of sheer "fury".

By Christmas, Mr Forsey was again in financial trouble and was having difficulty repaying €10,000 he had borrowed from his estranged wife from the re-mortgage of the family home.

In April 2007, Ms Forsey went to local Fine Gael TD John Deasy and the gardaí to inform them about the payments from the developer.

The court heard how Mr Forsey swore "on his kids' lives" that the payments were not corrupt and he intended to pay back the "loan".

However, the former politician was found guilty by a Waterford Circuit Criminal Court jury of accepting corrupt payments to a total value of €80,000. He was sentenced to four years in prison in June 2012.

Last year, during his appeal hearing, it was reported that he had witnessed stabbings in Mountjoy Prison and "wanted out".

He said: "I've seen things I would never even speak about."

And he told the court he was "terrified".

Mr Forsey has launched appeals to both his conviction and sentence.

Irish Independent

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