Two face trial over €80,000 payments

A FORMER Fine Gael councillor and a classic-winning racehorse owner have been sent forward to the circuit court for trial on charges relating to alleged corrupt payments of €80,000.

Fred Forsey Jnr, aged 41, with an address at Coolagh Road, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, is facing six corruption charges which allege that he received payments of €60,000, €10,000 and €10,000 from developer Michael Ryan, aged 58 of Kilgobnet, Cappa, Dungarvan, in 2006.

The two men made their third appearance in court in Dungarvan yesterday when it was heard that books of evidence had been served on them.

The payments are alleged to have been made as an inducement or reward to Forsey to use his then-position as a Fine Gael member of Dungarvan Town Council to make representations to officials and members of the county and town councils in support of a planning application made byRyan’s company, ORS Partners.

Michael Ryan is also facing six charges, relating to making the corrupt payments on August 25, October 10 and December 22 of 2006.

Jack Murphy, solicitor for Fred Forsey, told the court yesterday the book of evidence comprised two volumes and will take “some time” to examine.

Inspector Paul Heffernan said the DPP had given consent to a return for trial to the next sitting of Waterford Circuit Court, starting in November.

Mr Murphy said the case will not be ready to proceed by then. He said he will be making an application for legal aid on Fred Forsey Jnr’s behalf at a later date.

There was no legal aid application for Michael Ryan.

Judge Terence Finn returned the two accused men for trial, on the same bail terms as they were given when they first appeared in court.

Both men were present in court but neither was called on to speak during yesterday’s hearing.

The two accused were initially brought before the courts in early August when they were both granted consent to bail on independent sureties of €20,000.

Forsey did not make bail at the time and spent a week in Cork prison before being released at Clonmel district court.

Fred Forsey Jnr retired from politics in 2007 and moved abroad after spending four years on Dungarvan Town Council.

He was arrested in early August by gardaí in Dungarvan when he returned to Ireland for a wedding.

Property developer Michael Ryan, who has a second address at The Sweepstakes in Ballsbridge, Dublin, has been a well-known racehorse owner in recent years as well as the man behind the Al Eile stud farm outside Dungarvan.

Among his successful horses are Finsceal Beo, who won the 2007 English and Irish 1,000 Guineas during a career which saw her netting over €800,000 in prize money, and Al Eile, who won three Aintree Hurdles during his racing career and took in more than €600,000 in prize money.

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