Ex-FF councillor in U-turn and says he took donation

A FORMER Fianna Fáil councillor admitted to the Mahon Tribunal yesterday he received a donation from Frank Dunlop — having previously denied the lobbyist’s claim of getting IR£2,000 in cash.

But James Fahey denied Mr Dunlop’s allegation that the £2,000 was an improper cash payment in return for supporting the Quarryvale development.

He said it was “probable” the money he received was in the form of a third-party cheque drawn on one of Mr Dunlop’s companies.

Tribunal chairman, Judge Alan Mahon, asked: “Did you not wonder ‘why am I getting such a large contribution from Mr Dunlop’?”

Mr Fahey replied: “No, I didn’t.”

Mr Fahey thanked the tribunal for reminding him he also received a £1,000 cheque from Monarch Properties, whose land in south Dublin was rezoned for a housing development.

He insisted this was a political donation received after writing to a number of companies.

During the 1991 local election campaign, Mr Fahey issued a circular to voters in the Mulhuddart ward that he would not support the rezoning of Quarryvale.

However, he did vote to rezone the Quarryvale land. Mr Fahey said a witness recorded his vote in favour of the development as his party colleagues had done.

Tribunal lawyer Pat Quinn SC said records of Mr Dunlop’s companies had not shown any £2,000 sum debited around June 1991.

Asked by Judge Gerald Keys where he cashed the cheque Mr Fahey replied: “I cashed it in a local pub.”

In 1999, Mr Fahey denied any contact with or donation from Mr Dunlop.

During 2001, Mr Fahey said, Mr Dunlop allegedly told him the payment originated “from one of my companies”.

Mr Quinn said Mr Dunlop’s evidence was that Mr Fahey asked him for money at a meeting in Buswell’s Hotel on June 6, 1991, and reminded the lobbyist he had supported Quarryvale and would in the future.

According to Mr Dunlop, he handed over £2,000 in cash to Mr Fahey the following day.

At the end of his testimony, Mr Fahey said: “When I leave here I intend to do some research into this myself.”

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