Redmond receives another body blow

IF George Redmond felt the world ceased to exist upon his arrest by the Criminal Assets Bureau at Dublin Airport four years ago, he must surely believe the heavens collapsed entirely on his life yesterday.

With the publication of the latest Planning Tribunal report, the reputation of the elderly pensioner has been dealt another ignominious blow.

His renowned sense of self-importance as one of the most senior officials within local government has now virtually disappeared as events of the past two months has left the career of the once-proud civil servant in tatters.

Coming so soon after his conviction and imprisonment for 12 months on corruption charges last month, Redmond's universe appears devoid of any clouds with a silver lining.

However, the adverse findings which concluded that the former assistant Dublin city and county manager had received two sets of corrupt payments from property developers in the late 1980s should hardly come as a surprise to anyone.

Following his landmark interim report in September 2002, it was clear that former tribunal chairman Mr Justice Feargus Flood was not prepared to entertain the evidence of people accused of corruption which frequently bordered on the incredulous, and indeed represented an insult to one's intelligence.

In 15 days in the witness box at Dublin Castle between 1999 and 2000, Redmond maintained an injured air at suggestions that the vast sums of money largely hidden in his numerous bank accounts could be the fruits of corruption when he pleaded he was merely a diligent saver.

Only when cornered by CAB officials after returning from a day-trip to the Isle of Man with £300,000 in a hold-all in February 1999, did Redmond begin to provide credible answers about his funds.

As he sits in a cell at Cloverhill Prison contemplating at least another seven months in jail (providing he obtains remission for good behaviour), Redmond will find that his future is indeed bleak.

Before celebrating his 80th birthday next June, he is due to appear again before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court next month on two other corruption charges which relate to a site at Buzzardstown in north-west Dublin.

In addition, a copy of Mr Justice Flood's latest report is likely to be forwarded to the DPP for consideration of criminal charges in relation to the money Redmond received from Michael Bailey and Joseph Murphy Jnr.

He may also face criminal charges for obstructing and hindering the Planning Tribunal an offence, which if convicted, carries a maximum jail sentence of two years and/or a fine of €300,000.

In his current circumstances, it's hard not to feel a little sympathy for Redmond. After all, he is probably shouldering an unfair burden of the focus of the tribunal at a time when many his partners in corruption (who are mostly people with deeper pockets) have still not seen the inside of a courtroom.

Future reports of the tribunal are expected to make findings on Redmond's single biggest benefactor, Tom Brennan the corrupt developer who gave regularly payments totalling over £250,000 to the council official over two decades.

The inquiry may still hear further evidence about the circumstances of other large payments received by Redmond.

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