Wednesday 17 October 2018

Voters told where to sit 'in case one needed a dig'

Lorna Reid

TRIBUNAL whistleblower Frank Dunlop orchestrated the seating arrangements at a vital county council meeting to ensure that a councillor could be given a "dig" by a party colleague to vote the right way on Quarryvale.

It was a heart-stopping moment he told the Mahon Tribunal yesterday.

Mr Dunlop explained to the planning probe how he had got "Mother Theresa", aka FG Cllr Therese Ridge, to sit beside Cllr Peter Brady when the vote was called.

Mr Brady's vote was essential and Ms Ridge, he said, undertook to look after Mr Brady.

Mr Dunlop who was in the public gallery heard her say: "for, Peter, for" when the time came for him to cast his vote. The votes were taken alphabetically and Mr Brady was one of the first to be called.

Mr Dunlop, in his private interviews with the tribunal, revealed that Mr Brady would do absolutely anything Therese Ridge said.

Mr Brady also listened to auctioneer Gerry Leahy who worked in the office of Gunne's.

The lobbyist said he was aware of how influential Mr Leahy was to Mr Brady and went to see the auctioneer before the Quarryvale vote.

This meeting took place on June 25, 1992, and Quarryvale developer Owen O'Callaghan was with him.

After that meeting, Mr Leahy believed he had secured an agreement with Mr O'Callaghan that Gunne's would handle the letting arrangements for Quarryvale in return for "delivering" Mr Brady's vote.

But Mr Dunlop said he found it hard to believe that Mr O'Callaghan would agree to such an arrangement before a sod had been turned on Quarryvale.

His understanding was that there would be a quid pro quo arrangement whereby if Mr Brady voted in favour of Quarryvale then there would be a discussion about appointing Gunne's as the letting agents.

However, Mr Leahy and Gunne's thought that an oral contract had been agreed and issued proceedings against O'Callaghan Properties.

"This is the classic pistols at dawn carry on about an alleged oral contract between two parties," Mr Dunlop said.

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