Redmond trial continues

The trial of former Dublin Assistant County Manager, George Redmond, charged with receiving a bribe in return for purchasing development land, has heard he was originally reluctant to buy it.

The trial of former Dublin Assistant County Manager, George Redmond, charged with receiving a bribe in return for purchasing development land, has heard he was originally reluctant to buy it.

Former Dublin County Manager, Mr Frank Feeley, said Mr Redmond signed the order in 1980 for the purchase of the land at Buzzardstown, in north-west Dublin, but the transfer wasn't completed until 1985.

Mr Redmond (aged 83) denies receiving Ir£10,000 from the late Patrick Dunne, a Fianna Fáil councillor, on a date between October 10, 1985 and June 26, 1989 as an inducement or reward for doing or forebearing to do anything in respect of the compulsory purchase order (CPO) and to receiving the Irl£10,000 "as a reward for showing favour to another" in relation to the same land.

Mr Feeley agreed with defence counsel, Mr Brendan Grehan SC (with Mr Angus Buttanshaw BL), that a letter written by Mr Redmond to "J Fitzgerald, Finance Officer" with Dublin County Council in August 1987 indicated he originally didn't want to complete the purchase.

Mr Redmond stated in the letter that he was under the impression the Council had no intention of completing the compulsory purchase order as it already had enough land for housing needs.

Mr Feeley said the reluctance was in character for him. "Mr Redmond was not a man who handed over money easily. That's not a criticism, he was trying to protect the assets of the Council. There was always conflict between him and Dublin Corporation over handing over money."

He agreed Mr Redmond tried to reduce the costs of the purchase by asking Dublin Corporation to pay 50 pc of the Irl£2.5m asking price for Buzzardstown. "There were certain tensions between the two bodies."

He said Mr Redmond was reluctant due to the high cost of the land which "would have been at the top end of the value of land at that time."

When Judge Joseph Matthews asked Mr Grehan how relevant were the reasons behind purchasing the land, counsel replied: "The only point I want to get across is that Mr Redmond was against the CPO of Buzzardstown."

Asked by prosecution counsel, Ms Pauline Walley SC (with Mr Patrick McGrath BL), why it took so long to complete the purchase, Mr Feeley replied: "Its an order saying I'm going to take that land compulsorily so there have to be safeguards. The Minister himself has to approve it and can order a public enquiry if he feels it necessary."

Ms Walley presented a record of a meeting that took place between Mr Redmond, Mr Dunne and representatives of the owners of Buzzardstown during which Mr Redmond said Council finances were under severe pressure and that the purchase was on hold.

Ms Walley also read out a letter from the late Liam Lawlor, then vice-chairman of Dublin County Council, to Mr Feeley asking why there was "outlandish expenditure" on Buzzardstown when Clondalkin and Lucan were not yet developed. Mr Lawlor said in the letter "there was no justification for the expenditure".

Mr Feeley said the order was made to buy two adjacent plots of land, 104 acres owned by Mary Seagram and a 64 acres owned by Janice Hoey. The price to be paid over for the total was Irl£2.5m.

Judge Matthews commented: "In 1980 you could buy 167 acres for two million, an 18-hole golf course in terms of size? To keep it in context, St Stephens Green is 32 acres."

Mr Feeley said Mr Redmond had been given responsibility for County

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