After 15 years and an estimated cost of 250 million, the long awaited release of the Mahon Tribunal Report is a damning indictment of the corrupt alliances between developers and certain local and national politicians. Its also a reminder to many people living in the Dublin Mid West area of the disastrous effects that shameful and corrupt planning has had on local communities and the quality of life for many of its inhabitants.
The Quarryvale development, now Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, features prominently in the Report, involving politicians and developers, greed and bribery. According to the Report, former Fianna Fail Dublin West TD Liam Lawlor ‘abused his role to a very significant degree’ and he ‘conducted a personal business in the course of which he corruptly sold his expertise, knowledge and influence as a councillor and TD for personal financial reward’.
Mr. Lawlor corruptly sought and received payments totalling more than £80,000 from disgraced lobbyist Frank Dunlop and developer Owen O’Callaghan between 1991-96 while demanding a 20% stake in the Quarryvale project. It was against this backdrop that original plans to build a civic centre and other desperately needed facilities and jobs in Balgaddy were shelved in favour of the Quarryvale project.
According to Councilor Gino Kenny “The repercussions of the legacy of corrupt decisions are still been felt today. The corrupt decisions that were taking by elected representatives was a precursor to what was going to happen in the coming decades in Ireland. The real victims in all this was the people of North Clondalkin
The people of this area were promised a civic amenity to serve the needs of the area, instead politicians and big business served themselves. Where has the library that was promised to the people of North Clondalkin gone? These are the result of these corrupt, rezoning scandals. The final saga of this long drawn out Tribunal has told us nothing we didn’t know already. From start to finish the whole concept of rezoning in Quarryvale was dripping head to toe in corruption”
According to the Tribunal report, corrupt lobbyist Frank Dunlop became the ‘bag-man for the developers’; paying county councillors cash in return for their votes on land rezoning motions at the council. The lands owned by the developers rocketed in value once they were rezoned for housing, making the developers fortunes.
Cllr Kenny said: “this left an appalling legacy for many ordinary working people in these areas; it’s one of bad planning, ghost estates, inadequate services, a collapsed property bubble and now economic meltdown. People are angry and want to know when punishment is finally going to be served on all those responsible. We are waiting!”