Huge sums lodged each year since early ’60s

FORMER assistant Dublin city and county manager George Redmond lodged sums of money equivalent to the value of “a substantial house” each year since the early 1960s to his bank accounts, according to the Planning Tribunal.

The inquiry’s Third Interim Report published yesterday claimed similar sums accumulated by the former council official in the period 1981-’98 could not be explained by his salary or interest earned on savings.

The tribunal’s former chairman, Mr Justice Feargus Flood, said the investigation into Mr Redmond’s financial affairs had established that he was regularly lodging sums to various bank accounts which were multiples of his “relatively modest salary”.

Mr Redmond’s total net salary for the period 1965-’89 was £205,680, yet he held over £1 million at one stage in various Irish and offshore bank accounts. His net salary upon his retirement was just £19,380.

The tribunal also highlighted how it established that Mr Redmond was in receipt of regular and substantial payments from builders and developers since the 1960s when he was first employed in the planning department of Dublin County Council.

Mr Justice Flood said he was satisfied that Mr Redmond always intended to keep his receipt of such payments secret, despite claiming that such money was in return for advice on planning matters. Among such payments was a sum totalling between £16,000 and £20,000 in cash from the property developer, Michael Bailey, in 1989, which the report concluded was for a corrupt motive.

The former assistant Dublin city and county manager only declared eight out of 33 bank accounts held in various forms of his name and at a variety of addresses in Ireland, England and Spain, none of which were addresses at which he ever resided.

In particular, Mr Justice Flood ruled that Mr Redmond received a corrupt payment for devising a strategy which reduced the exposure of the Murphy group to increased planning levies on its site at Forest Road, Swords, when planning permission was due to lapse in 1988.

It is understood the council official received a payment that represented 10% of the savings for the Murphy group from JMSE owner Joseph Murphy Jnr. Although Mr Justice Flood said there was no direct evidence about the sum, he said it was unlikely he would have accepted less than £12,246.

“The tribunal considers that it is inherently improbable that he would have given advice to the Murphy interests unless he was going to be financially rewarded for this advice,” said the former chairman.

He also observed that a letter which had been drafted by Mr Redmond and given to the Murphy group to submit to the local authority in relation to the Forest Road site represented “a novel proposal for which there was no precedent in the planning department of Dublin County Council”.

The report also concluded that Mr Redmond’s claim that he received £25,000 from JMSE director James Gogarty some time in 1988 or 1989, for introducing the JMSE director to Mr Bailey was “a deliberate concoction”.

However, the report said a £15,000 payment given to Mr Redmond by Mr Murphy Jnr at a meeting in Clontarf Castle in July 1989 could not be deemed as corrupt.

He concluded that Mr Redmond, as well as Mr Murphy Jnr, Mr Bailey and JMSE managing director Frank Reynolds, all hindered and obstructed the inquiry.

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