Dunlop facing sentence on corruption charges

Former Government press secretary Frank Dunlop will be sentenced today for five counts of corruption.

Former Government press secretary Frank Dunlop will be sentenced today for five counts of corruption.

The one-time lobbyist faces up to seven years in jail and/or a €50,000 fine for handling bribes of between IR£1,000-3,000 to several politicians to re-zone swathes of land around Dublin for housing in the 1990s.

In January, the 61-year-old – who had been charged with 16 counts of bribing Dublin county councillors – pleaded guilty to five sample counts of corruption.

At the time, state prosecutor Sean Gillane told the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin that further pleas on the remaining 11 charges would not be required.

The prosecution’s evidence will cover a five-year period and will take up to an hour, he added.

Mitigation from Dunlop’s barrister, Aidan Redmond SC, is also expected to take up to an hour.

Dunlop, of Dunboyne, Co Meath, admitted handing money over to politicians at different locations in Dublin, including Buswell’s and Davenport hotels, both a short walk from the Dáil, and St John of God’s Hospital.

Among those names on the charge sheet are former senators Don Lydon, of Fianna Fáil, and Liam Cosgrave, of Fine Gael. Giving evidence at a tribunal, both men strenuously denied they sought or accepted bribes.

Others include Fianna Fáil councillors Sean Gilbride, Tony Fox, and Colm McGrath.

The case was brought more than eight years after Dunlop first revealed his involvement in corruption at the Flood Tribunal, the long-running inquiry which probed allegations of payments being made in connection with planning matters.

Dunlop was arrested by members of the Criminal Assets Bureau in November and was quickly brought before Dublin District Court.

The court was told that, when charged, he replied: “We always knew this day was coming and I will not be contesting the charges.”

Councillors named on the remaining charges, which will be taken in to consideration today, include Fianna Fáil’s Jack Larkin and Cyril Gallagher, and Fine Gael’s Tom Hand, all deceased.

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