Irish Republican News · March 5, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]

Dramatic allegations of corruption and blackmail are being made against members of the governing Fianna Fil party at the Mahon Tribunal in Dublin.

Property developer Tom Gilmartin has been given immunity from prosecution in relation to his allegations to the tribunal into corrupt political payments.

His explosive allegations, and their proximity to local and European elections in the 26 Counties, have generous sudden interest in the lengthy proceedings of the tribunal.

Mr Gilmartin said he was told he could "end up in the Liffey" after he refused to pay a 5 million extortion demand made after a meeting with the Dublin government.

Mr Gilmartin has told the tribunal that he was approached in late January 1989 and was told the "Boss" (former Prime Minister Charles Haughey) wanted to see him.

Some days later, he was taken to a room on the fourth or fifth floor of Leinster House. He says that the following Ministers were present: Gerry Collins, the late Brian Lenihan, Seamus Brennan, Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern and Pdraig Flynn. In addition, Ray Burke entered the room a little later, and Mary O'Rourke attended briefly.

Mr Gilmartin says Mr Flynn introduced him to the Prime Minister, who urged him to "keep up the good work". As he was leaving, Mr Haughey said he hoped Junior Minister Liam Lawlor, who was outside the room, was "taking good care" of him.

As he came out of the room, Mr Lawlor moved back against the wall and another man approached him. According to Mr Gilmartin, this man said that a lot of money would be made out of his developments. He suggested that the developer pay 5 million to an Isle of Man bank account and handed him a piece of paper with an account number written on it.

Mr Gilmartin rejected the approach and said he could not believe what he was hearing. The man was taken aback.

Mr Gilmartin said: "You make the effing Mafia look like monks."

The man responded: "You could end up in the Liffey for that statement."

Mr Gilmartin also said that disgraced former Fianna Fil TD Liam Lawlor barged into a meeting in London and attempted to extort money.

Mr Lawlor allegedly said he was an appointee of the Irish government and demanded large amounts of money as well as a position on the board, which he said would make or break the provision of plannning permission for the project.

According to Gilmartin, Lawlor also said the Dublin government required a 20% stake in the development.

Mr Gilmartin said the project had been 'held to ransom by shadowy figures' who intervened to influence the price of properties he was trying to acquire.

The tribunal heard that Liam Lawlor demanded a hundred thousand pounds from Mr Gilmartin in order to advance proposals to develop lands at Quarryvale in west Dublin.

Mr Gilmartin said the former Fianna Fail TD also told him that he would have to "look after" city official George Redmond too.

He says he met the then minister for the environment, Mr Pdraig Flynn, in February 1989 to outline the difficulties he was facing in respect of the two projects.

According to Mr Gilmartin, Mr Flynn had little to say, but had suggested that he make a substantial donation to Fianna Fil, as this might help to "curb" the activities of others.

Mr Flynn has accepted that he received 50,000 from Mr Gilmartin but says it was given for his own use to cover "election expenses".

Mr Gilmartin also revealed that Mr Lawlor had no input in a project for which he was paid nearly 60,000 in consultancy fees.

He said he paid Mr Lawlor 3,500 per month. Mr Gilmartin says these payments were for "consultancy fees" while Mr Lawlor says they were "political contributions".

Mr Lawlor has accepted he had been paid a total of 57,500 through Mr Gilmartin in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The tribunal is investigating both men's claims, and the possibility these may have been corrupt payments.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News