Redmond faces more corruption charges

GEORGE REDMOND, who will spend the next year behind bars for accepting a bribe, faces two more corruption charges at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court next year.

The "sword of Damocles" the phrase the retired council official once used to describe payments he had received for giving planning advice finally fell on the 79-year-old pensioner yesterday when he was returned to Cloverhill Prison to serve out his sentence.

But Redmond's court appearances are far from over as he is still facing two more charges of corruption over an alleged £10,000 payment he received in relation to a compulsory purchase order on land at Buzzardstown, Co Dublin, in the 1980s. The case is due to come before the courts in early 2004.

The 12-month sentence was passed on the former assistant Dublin city and county manager after he was found guilty last month of accepting a £10,000 bribe in the 1980s from garage owner Brendan Fassnidge in relation to the sale of a right-of-way at Palmerstown from Dublin County Council.

Under corruption legislation he could have faced a maximum prison sentence of seven years as well as the forfeiture of his annual pension of €52,992.

However, Judge Michael White said he had taken Redmond's age and ill health into consideration in the decision to impose a one-year jail term with no order relating to his pension.

The term will be backdated to November 19 last when Redmond was first remanded in custody to Cloverhill Prison.

Sentencing him on two charges to run concurrently, Judge White said the nature of Redmond's offences meant he had to hand down a custodial sentence.

The judge said the highest standards of probity were expected from public officials, especially from Redmond, who at the time of the offence was one of the most senior managers in local government in Ireland.

He said the defendant's crime represented a serious breach of trust of the residents of the local authority he served and damaged the reputation of people who worked in the civil service. He noted that Redmond had been found guilty of tax offences on a separate occasion which did not reflect well on his character.

There was no reaction from Redmond, who wears a special hearing aid in the courtroom, as the sentence was read out.

The judge also refused an application by Redmond's lawyers to appeal the conviction.

On a more positive note for the former official, Judge White refused an application by the DPP to be awarded costs, saying such a ruling would be "manifestly unfair".

The head of the Criminal Assets Bureau, Chief Supt Felix McKenna, expressed satisfaction at the outcome and said it would send out a message to public servants not to take bribes.

It is understood CAB is still examining other aspects of Redmond's financial affairs. Under an agreement reached with CAB, Redmond may be liable for substantial fines if any fresh undeclared sources of past income come to light.

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