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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Former councillor Fred Forsey's ex-wife 'told TD of developer's €80,000 bribe'
THE ex-wife of a former councillor contacted a government TD to tell him her husband had received tens of thousands of euro from a property developer, a court heard yesterday.
Waterford Fine Gael deputy John Deasy gave evidence at the trial of Fred Forsey Jnr at Waterford Circuit Court.
Mr Forsey (42), of Collagh Road, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, is accused of corruptly accepting three payments of €60,000, €10,000 and €10,000 in 2006.
Yesterday, he pleaded not guilty to six counts contrary to the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2001.
The payments are alleged to have been made as a "reward" to Mr Forsey for using his position on Dungarvan Town Council to make representations to officials and members of Waterford County Council in support of a planning application made by the developer's company. The developer cannot be named for legal reasons.
It is also alleged that the payments were given as a reward or inducement for Mr Forsey to speak at a meeting of the town council in support of the development.
The jury heard that Mr Deasy had been contacted by the ex-wife of Fred Forsey, Jenny Forsey, in April 2007 when "certain information" came to light.
Mr Deasy immediately contacted Supt Thomas O'Grady in Dungarvan after the telephone call from Mrs Forsey. He advised her to do the same.
Prosecution barrister Denis Vaughan Buckley told the court that Jenny Forsey would later tell how she had split up with Fred Forsey in October 2006.
He said that before this, the family went on holiday to Rome on August 25, 2006 -- on the date of the first alleged corrupt payment to Mr Forsey.
While he was in the airport, Mr Forsey took out his wallet and gave the children money, Mr Buckley said.
While in Rome, his wife asked him about where he got the money and she was told that a property developer had lodged €30,000 into Mr Forsey's bank account.
"He told her it was for work he was doing for him," Mr Buckley said.
Mr Deasy gave evidence of meeting the same property developer in his local pub, Merry's in Dungarvan, in the summer of 2006.
He said the developer sought his support for a planning application which he claimed would create hundreds of jobs.
Mr Forsey met Mr Deasy in a cafe in Dungarvan some weeks later to look for his backing for this development.
Mr Deasy said he had a "difficulty" with the project, adding: "It was my opinion now and it always was (that the aim) . . . was to inflate the price of land."
Defence barrister John Phelan asked Mr Deasy if he was aware Mr Forsey had fallen on "bad times" with his business.
"You were aware he had planned to go to Australia?" Mr Phelan asked the witness, before adding that the departure was not a permanent move.
Mr Deasy replied that he had "no idea" about Mr Forsey's finances. He agreed that he had asked Mr Forsey to relinquish his seat on Dungarvan Town Council when he discovered his plans to move to Australia and that Mr Forsey "eventually" gave up his seat.
Mr Phelan put it to Mr Deasy that he had phoned the accused and told him "not to ever come back to Ireland".
He claimed Mr Deasy had said: "Have a good life. Goodbye." Mr Deasy said this was not his recollection.
Mr Phelan asked John Deasy if he knew why Jenny Forsey had "picked" him as an "ally".
"Were you aware there had been (marital) differences and Mr Forsey was residing with another lady?"
Mr Deasy replied: "She (Jenny Forsey) never made any comment to me as to her marital relations."
Jenny Forsey is due to give evidence at the trial today before Judge Gerard Griffin. The case is expected to last between three and six weeks.