‘Bank was totally dishonourable,’claims Gilmartin

AIB BANK would “absolutely deny” talking to anybody about former developer Tom Gilmartin’s business, lawyer Richard Nesbitt SC told the Mahon Tribunal yesterday.

Mr Gilmartin, aged 73, has alleged the bank passed on information about his affairs and was in collusion with other parties. As a result, no stone was left unturned to put him out of business after he had given the bank details of his involvement in a Northern Ireland project.

He described a train of events in the early 1990s that saw him facing a £6.5 million tax demand in England, declared bankrupt and losing control of the west Dublin development he initiated at Quarryvale.

The Sligo-born businessman rejected Mr Nesbitt’s suggestion there was no evidence for his allegation against the bank and that it was “only in his head”.

Counsel suggested thereality was that Mr Gilmartin had failed to meet the terms of his IR£8m loan and did not have the money to repay it.

It was not in the bank’s interest that Mr Gilmartin’s plans should collapse, as it wanted the loan repaid, it said.

Mr Gilmartin insisted Mr Nesbitt was trying to make him out to be “a man of straw, who could not perform” but he had performed in relation to his project in spite of being blackguarded from day one.

“Don’t try and tell me how honourable the bank was. The bank was totally dishonourable,” he said.

“Senior politicians were paid large sums to ensure things went wrong for me.”

Replying to ColmÓ hOisin SC, for Bertie Ahern, Mr Gilmartin confirmed he told journalists about a claim that the Taoiseach had received IR£50,000 from his former Quarryvale partner and bitter rival Owen O’Callaghan in connection with planning matters. Both Mr Ahern and Mr Gilmartin denythe allegation.

“I was reading stories planted in various papers and had every right of reply. It was countering lying accusations about me and my involvement in Quarryvale,” said Mr Gilmartin.

His cross-examination will resume next week.

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