Carrickmines section withheld due to criminal proceedings

The Mahon Tribunal has withheld publication of one section of its groundbreaking report on planning corruption as several councillors and a businessman are facing an upcoming criminal trial on related matters.

The tribunal said its findings on alleged corrupt payments to politicians linked to the rezoning of lands at Carrickmines, Co Dublin, had been withheld for legal reasons. It expressed hope that the section could be published as soon as possible.

Several retired politicians as well as one serving councillor and a businessman are facing trial before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court as a result of an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau on charges of planning corruption related to the rezoning of lands owned by Jackson Way Properties in 1992 and 1997.

They are former Fine Gael TD, Liam Cosgrave Jnr; former Fianna Fáil senator, Don Lydon, and former Fianna Fáil councillor, Colm McGrath.

Also facing prosecution are Tony Fox, an independent member of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council who previously represented Fianna Fáil on the local authority and reclusive businessman, Jim Kennedy, one of the co-owners of the Jackson Way lands.

All men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Another former Fianna Fáil councillor, Seán Gilbride, was also charged in relation to the same alleged offence before his death in Jan 2011.

Mr Kennedy, a tax exile and owner of a Dublin amusement arcade, is charged with 16 counts of bribing politicians in return for their support to rezone his lands in south Dublin.

The charges also include alleged payments by Mr Kennedy to deceased councillors Jack Larkin and Cyril Gallagher (both FF) and Tom Hand (FG).

The former government press secretary and political lobbyist, Frank Dunlop, is expected to be the main prosecution witness. He was convicted on five charges of bribing councillors in relation to the Jackson Way lands in 2009. Mr Dunlop was sentenced to two years in prison with six months suspended.

Separate challenges by Mr Cosgrave and Mr Kennedy to stop their prosecution were rejected by the High Court in Jul 2011.

However, both men have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.


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