The trial of four councillors accused of accepting bribes to rezone more than 100 acres of land has heard that the rezoning went against the advice of the then county manager.
Former county manager of Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council Donal Marren warned in 1997 that it would be “premature” to rezone the agricultural land as industrial, due to inadequate road access and water supplies.
Giving evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown senior planner Richard Cremins said he also felt the 1998 rezoning “didn’t make sense in planning terms”.
He said that under the proposed rezoning, “you had to go across agricultural lands to get to the Luas stop — it didn’t make sense”.
However, he said by 2004 the situation had changed and with the M50 motorway in place, the rezoning made sense.
Rezoning motions were put forward in 1997 and 1998 by sitting Independent councillor Tony Fox, aged 72, of Churchtown, and former Fine Gael councillor Liam Cosgrave, aged 57, of Blackrock, Dublin.
Both deny accepting cash bribes of £7,000 each from ex-lobbyist Frank Dunlop in return for their support for the rezoning.
Former Fianna Fáil councillors Donal Lydon, aged 74, of Stillorgan Park Avenue, and Colm McGrath, aged 56, of Saggart, have also pleaded not guilty to receiving corrupt payments of £3,000 and £2,000 respectively from Mr Dunlop in return for their votes.
Businessman Jim Kennedy, aged 66, of Cormorant’s Quay, Gibraltar, denies giving £25,000 to Mr Dunlop to buy votes.
The court heard Mr Marren had recommended no change to existing agricultural zoning on 108 acres, most of it owned by Mr Kennedy’s company Jackson Way.
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