No record of councillor speeches, says judge

THERE are no records of Fianna Fáil member, Tony Fox, speaking at council meetings to discuss the development of lands at Carrickmines, Co Dublin, despite his claims that he had always argued strongly in favour of their rezoning.

Tribunal judge, Ms Mary Faherty pointed out to Cllr Fox that the minutes of four separate council meetings between 1990 and 1997 at which the lands were discussed failed to record him contributing to any debate.

Mr Fox said he had made unrecorded comments at one or more of the meetings but insisted he had still made his views known.

Mr Fox, who represents the Dundrum area on Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Council has repeatedly denied allegations he was paid bribes totalling £7,000 by the political lobbyist, Frank Dunlop for his support on rezoning the Carrickmines lands. He claimed he had only ever received three bottles of wine from Mr Dunlop as a Christmas gift in 1997.

Mr Fox disagreed with Mr Dunlop’s remark that he was someone of standing who could influence other councillors and rejected any notion that he had “clout” with his party colleagues.

He also rejected any suggestions that he had lied to a Fianna Fáil inquiry because he had failed to disclose details of political donations he had received from a property company. Mr Fox described the omission as “an unintentional mistake”.

Mr Dunlop’s barrister, Aidan Redmond SC observed Mr Fox was “a blank canvass when it comes to corruption” after claiming he was unaware of any allegations of bribery in the planning process until the establishment of the tribunal in 1997, despite widespread media coverage.

Although the tribunal chairman, Mr Justice Feargus Flood, invited Mr Fox to consider his evidence at the conclusion of last Friday’s hearing, the issue was not raised further yesterday.

Meanwhile, a member of the Irish Association of Corporate Treasurers told the tribunal he remembered seeing the Fianna Fáil senator, Don Lydon at a conference in Dun Laoghaire in 1992 on the day Mr Dunlop allegedly agreed to pay the politician a £3,000 bribe.

Mr Lydon, a psychologist at St John of God’s Hospital, Stillorgan, claims he has an alibi to disprove Mr Dunlop’s allegations as he was a guest speaker at a conference hosted by the IACT.

Mr Dunlop has told the tribunal he met Mr Lydon in the car park of St John of God’s on the afternoon of May 1, 1992 to discuss giving him money for signing a motion to rezone lands owned by Paisley Park at Carrickmines, Co Dublin.

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