Sunday 25 February 2018

Central figure in planning corruption probe dies at 92

George Redmond in 2008 after he was cleared of receiving an illegal payment. Photo: Collins
George Redmond in 2008 after he was cleared of receiving an illegal payment. Photo: Collins
John Downing

John Downing

George Redmond, who has died aged 92 after a short illness, burst into the public consciousness when he was arrested at Dublin Airport in 1999 with £300,000 in cash and cheques in his possession.

Redmond was the former Dublin County Manager - a man deemed to have extraordinary day-to-day power over planning decisions on multi-million-pound developments in the capital.

When the authorities intercepted him, Redmond was on his way back from the Isle of Man.

Ultimately, he was obliged to pay a settlement of almost €800,000 with the Revenue Commissioners.

The settlement obliged him to sell the family home and he always said it left him without the money to properly fight other legal battles through the courts.

"I was the council, I had the powers," he told one of the marathon sessions of the Planning Tribunal at Dublin Castle, which examined his affairs and those of others.

He had worked his way up to the top job after starting as a clerk in 1941.

Some of the Tribunal lawyers estimated that Mr Redmond took the value of "one substantial house per annum" in return for his "help" on various big building developments.

The Planning Tribunal ruled he had taken corrupt payments from developers and hindered its investigations, and denied him legal costs. He always disputed the findings.

Separately, Mr Redmond was convicted of corruption in 2003 and sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment following a majority jury verdict.

That conviction was overturned on appeal as unsafe and he was released after six months.

He was retried in 2008 on two separate corruption charges but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the first count, and he was acquitted on the second.

Eventually, in December 2014, the tribunal findings were quashed after new evidence emerged in other court challenges. Redmond crucially got his legal costs.

The new evidence involved a successful case brought by Joseph Murphy Junior, a developer who was also before the Tribunal.

Irish Independent

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