Man listed as director had left firm

THE Mahon Tribunal heard yesterday about a businessman who believed he quit a property company in the mid-1990s only to find he was still listed as a director six years later.

Eamonn Duignan formed the Berraway shelf company together with former Fianna Fáil chief fundraiser Des Richardson as a vehicle for the purchase or development of lands.

He thought he had pulled out of the venture in 1995 when Berraway “finished its property life” and sent a letter of resignation to Mr Richardson. But six years afterwards he discovered that he was still formally part of the company.

Mr Duignan explained his discovery during a resumed investigation by the planning probe into rezoning developments surrounding 18 acres of land at Cloghran, near Dublin Airport.

The site involved was owned by a three-strong consortium of businessmen, John Butler, Niall Kenny and Thomas Williams.

When the Cloghran inquiry began nearly two years ago, the tribunal was told by its counsel that the ownership of the land had been surrounded by secrecy, and involved both an Isle of Man company and a Cypriot corporate structure.

Among the Berraway shareholders was former government press secretary Frank Dunlop, who said in evidence that he had made payments of £1,000 and £2,000 to a number of Dublin county councillors — named as GV Wright, Tony Fox, Sean Gilbride and the late Cyril Gallagher — in return for their support on rezoning issues.

Dunlop was also said to have requested the land-owning consortium to pay to the Saatchi and Saatchi advertising consultancy the amount of €12,000 as a “pick-me-up” on behalf the Fianna Fáil party.

Mr Duignan was shown a Bank of Ireland document dating back to 1997 that appeared to contain his signature and authorised transactions.

He said he had no idea how the document could have his signature on it and denied that the signature was his.

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