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Politicians face corruption trial over land deal

Three former politicians, an independent councillor and a Gibraltar-based businessman are to go on trial over an alleged corrupt multi-million euro land deal, a court heard today.

Prosecutors served books of evidence on ex-Senator Don Lydon, former councillor Colm McGrath, ex Fine Gael TD Liam Cosgrave, Independent Tony Fox and Jim Kennedy at Dublin Circuit Court.

The five were told their cases would be listed in the current sitting of the higher Circuit Court, which runs until Christmas.

Former councillor Sean Gilbride has been remanded on bail until November 18 after Dublin District Court heard he was in hospital.

The six were all alleged to have been part of a cash-for-votes scandal which led to more than 100 acres of prime land in south county Dublin being rezoned in the 1990s.

The charges follow a marathon investigation into the €53m hike in land prices at Carrickmines, south Dublin.

The lands were frozen by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in 2005.

At the time, then CAB chief Felix McKenna said it was believed corrupt payments to county councillors secured the rezoning from agricultural to industrial use.

Former government press secretary Frank Dunlop, who was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to corruption, was accused of brokering the deal.

Kennedy faces 16 charges in relation to corrupt payments to politicians.

The other five face charges of taking money to vote for the rezoning of 108 acres at Carrickmines.

Fox, aged 70, from Mountainview Park, Churchtown, was charged with taking money three times in the Davenport Hotel in late 1997 to vote in favour of rezoning two large blocks of land, 36 acres and 88 acres, at Carrickmines during a vote in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council.

He was also charged with taking money to vote for the rezoning of 108 acres at Carrickmines while Dublin County councillor in 1992.

Lydon, aged 82, from San Antonio, Stillorgan Park Avenue, Dublin, was charged with taking money in May 1992 at St John of God's to rezone 108 acres in Carrickmines.

McGrath, aged 54, from Swiftford, Saggart, Co Dublin, was charged with taking money in June 1992 in his Clondalkin office to rezone the same land.

Gilbride, aged 69, from Greenlawns, Skerries, was charged with taking money in Frank Dunlop's offices in June 1992. He is also alleged to have taken the cash in return for a Dublin County Council vote to rezone Carrickmines.

Cosgrave, a son of former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, faces five counts of taking bribes to back the rezoning of lands.

PA Media