Dunlop bribed councillors for M50 lands rezoning

The Mahon Tribunal Report has found that lobbyist Frank Dunlop bribed councillors in Dublin thousands of pounds for the rezoning of land in Carrickmines along what’s now the route of the M50, after receiving funds from businessman Jim Kennedy.

Publication of the last section was delayed as a result of the (now collapsed) trial involving four former politicians in Dublin who were alleged to have received payments in return for council votes on the rezoning of land for development. The chapter finds that council members – including those involved in the court case; Liam Cosgrave, Don Lydon, Colm McGrath and Tony Fox – accepted bribes for the rezoning of land.

Regarding Fine Gael’s Liam Cosgrave – son of former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave – the tribunal found the councillor had received payments totalling £9,000. It’s findings state: (i) The Tribunal was satisfied that Mr Dunlop paid IR£2,000 to Cllr Cosgrave in June 1992, as well as IR£5,000 (in two amounts) and IR£2,000 in late 1997.

The Tribunal was satisfied that the aforesaid payments totalling IR£9,000 were made in return for Cllr Cosgrave’s support (including his signature on Motions) for the rezoning of the Carrickmines lands. (ii) The Tribunal was satisfied to accept Mr Dunlop’s evidence that IR£7,000 of the IR£9,000 paid to Cllr Cosgrave was directly solicited by Cllr Cosgrave. (iii) These payments were corrupt.

Regarding Fianna Fáil’s Don Lydon, the tribunal found the former councillor received £3,000. The final chapter states: (i) The Tribunal was satisfied that Cllr Lydon sought money from Mr Dunlop and was paid a sum of IR£3,000 in return for signing the Paisley Park motion which came before Dublin County Council on 12 June 1992 and in return for the support provided by him at that date. (ii) In particular, the Tribunal accepted Mr Dunlop’s evidence (both in its oral and its documentary form) that, as indicated in his diaries, Mr Dunlop met with Cllr Lydon by arrangement on both 1 and 4 May 1992. The Tribunal accepted that at the first of these meetings, Cllr Lydon sought a payment from Mr Dunlop in return for signing the motion, and that at the second meeting he signed the motion and was paid the sum of IR£3,000. The payment of IR£3,000 was corrupt.

The Tribunal found that Dunlop had made two corrupt payments totaling £7,000 to Independent Councillor Tony Fox and was “in frequent contact with Cllr Fox” in the periods leading up to council meetings on the rezoning of lands in Carrickmines in 1991, 1992, 1997 and 1998. Colm McGrath The Tribunal found that Frank Dunlop made a corrupt payment of £2,000 to then Fianna Fáil Councillor Colm McGrath in June 1992, stating as “simply not credible” McGrath’s assertion that the payment was unconnected to land rezoning and was a political donation.

Councillor Tom Hand (FG) The Tribunal concluded that the late Fine Gael Councillor Tom Hand received a payment of £3,000 from Frank Dunlop in connection with the rezoning of land and deemed the payment corrupt. The Tribunal believed that Cllr Hand had a propensity to request money from Dunlop in return for supporting particular rezoning projects.