Gilmartin defends tribunal evidence

BRITISH-BASED businessman Tom Gilmartin denied yesterday his evidence to the Mahon Tribunal was reckless and a malevolent cocktail of lies.

According to Paul Sreenan SC, who is representing developer Owen O’Callaghan, Mr Gilmartin was making “headline-grabbing” bizarre and ludicrous allegations, motivated by bitterness and jealousy.

“You’ve been a reckless witness and have dished up a malevolent cocktail of lies, with more than a fair share of bitterness and jealousy in it,” said Mr Sreenan.

The Sligo-born former developer, 72, replied: “I don’t believe I have knowingly made an untrue allegation. I would never knowingly have perjured myself. At no time did I pay a bribe to any politician.”

Evidence has been given how the two business partners became bitter rivals over their Quarryvale development in west Dublin in the 1990s. Made bankrupt in 1992, Mr Gilmartin claimed Mr O’Callaghan cheated him out of his firm and the project he began.

Yesterday, Mr Sreenan said Mr Gilmartin had been making allegations against his client and others on a daily basis since he began his testimony. Mr Gilmartin replied the tribunal had uncovered evidence to back up his allegations of corruption in the planning process.

He recalled when he had made claims — about former government press secretary and lobbyist Frank Dunlop, the late politician Liam Lawlor and former planning official George Redmond — he was called a Walter Mitty character.

Mr Dunlop has claimed he made corrupt payments totalling nearly £225,000 to 14 politicians to secure the zoning for Quarryvale, which later became the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.

Mr Sreenan said Mr Gilmartin had made headline-grabbing claims about Mr O’Callaghan falling out of a broom cupboard, carrying a shotgun in his car and going into the Taoiseach’s bedroom at 3am to hand over money. Other witnesses, quoted by Mr Sreenan, described Mr Gilmartin as “paranoid” and “irrational” over the Quarryvale deal.

Mr Gilmartin said people didn’t want to believe when he told them what was happening to him.

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