Fianna Fail's Supergrass speaks frankly
DISGRACED- FRANK DUNLOP ,WHILE DOING A JOB OF WORK HE ACCEPTED AS THE NORM….
The code of Omerta is never violated in the Fianna Fail party. Ray Burke,for example, lied to the last-as did his alter ego Liam Lawlor. The secrets of the party are taken to the grave. Lobbyist Frank Dunlop the singular exception who broke this code for the first time, told how the "phone stopped ringing" after he admitted bribing politicians at the Mahon Tribunal.
He said people he had been meeting on a daily basis and socialising with disappeared and he "never heard from them again".
"I learned an awful lot about human nature. You suddenly discover in a hard way who your real friends are," Mr Dunlop said.
"Privately, one or two people said, 'You're always welcome and we still consider you a friend and a valuable advisor', but they would be in the minority. I don't say that in any self-serving way. People move on, it's a fact of life. Life moves on. They have to do their business. They can't be worrying about Frank Dunlop."
Politicians he had worked with in Fianna Fail were also keen to avoid him.
"There's been no contact. That's reality. There's no point in crying about it. Politics is a vicious business, particularly in Ireland where survival is not in the context of the opposition but in the context of your own party."
Mr Dunlop told in September 2004, that he was brought to the cardiac unit of Dublin's Mater Hospital before heading off to Dublin Castle to blow the whistle on planning corruption in Dublin.
He refused to be drawn on any of the issues being dealt with by the tribunal, saying the process was ongoing and he was co-operating fully.
He said he had third-party accounts of what people, including former colleagues, had said about him.
He recounted how one "very prominent" politician allegedly said, "We'd all be better off if Frank Dunlop was dead," as the former spin doctor began his evidence at the Flood Tribunal. Asked how he faced down critics who queried why anything he says should be believed, Mr Dunlop said: "What do people expect me to do? Stay in bed all day? Land gets zoned, builders keep building. It's just because I have taken a particular view in co-operating with the tribunal, some people find that difficult to take."
In relation to his old boss, Taoiseach Charles Haughey, Mr Dunlop said that, while they were very different to one another, it was always an interesting relationship.
"Sometimes you see marriages and you wonder how they survive - people are so different, yin and yang. Our relationship was very sparky. There were lots of rows, but it was never less than exhilarating," he said.
The former Government press secretary said the death of his son Cathal at the age of 16 in 1998 from cancer - "The worst thing that could happen" - became a benchmark that he used to measure other problems against.
When his son died he said Charles Haughey, out of office by then, was a great support. "The man was just as if he was a member of the family. He was so sympathetic," said Mr Dunlop.
Mr Dunlop has now taken to writing. His first book, 'Yes, Taoiseach', is published this week and he is planning another telling the story of how the system of Government works in Ireland, peppered with stories of any involvement he had in the decisions made.
He said the reaction to his new book had been "fantastic", but he was aware he had his critics. Some callers to RTE after he did an interview on the 'Marian Finucane Show' demanded to know why he and others were not in jail.
"You cannot sit down and drive yourself mad thinking about what might or might not happen. You have to take it as it comes. There is a process and I'm a participant until that concludes. Trying to second guess what happens - you'd drive yourself mad," he said.
Tuesday October 02 2007
Lobbyist Frank Dunlop insisted yesterday he had not lied to the Mahon Tribunal seven years ago when he first started to spill the beans about bribing councillors.
Mr Dunlop named the late Liam Lawlor as being one of the politicians he paid in 1991, but he now says this demand for IR£40,000 did not take place in front of Tom Gilmartin and Owen O'Callaghan.
In April 2000 when Mr Dunlop "crossed the Rubicon" and decided to co-operate with the planning probe he described how Mr Lawlor had demanded IR£40,000 from him in April 1991 as payment for Mr Lawlor's introduction of Mr Dunlop to Mr O'Callaghan.
Mr Dunlop said that Mr Lawlor's demand for the IR£40,000 took place in his office in Mount Street, at a meeting attended by both Mr Gilmartin and Mr O'Callaghan.
But yesterday Mr Dunlop said his initial account of the meeting was not correct. Mr Lawlor never asked him for the IR£40,000 in front of Mr Gilmartin and Mr O'Callaghan.
He added that he now believed that the meeting with Mr Gilmartin and Mr O'Callaghan in his office did not take place on April 25 1991.
Mr Lawlor would not have demanded IR£40,000 from him until after he (Mr Dunlop) had agreed fee terms with Mr O'Callaghan.
He certainly did pay Mr Lawlor the IR£40,000 and this would have taken place sometime before the 1991 local elections in June that year.
The money was in a briefcase and given to the politician on an unspecified date.
Tribunal counsel Patricia Dillon SC asked Mr Dunlop if the account of the meeting he had just given was true, then why did he lie to the tribunal in accounts which he gave in 2000, when events would have been fresher in his mind.
Mr Dunlop said he did not set out to lie to the tribunal.
"But I might have got the facts wrong. The circumstances in May and June 2000 were quite horrendous" he added.
Mr Dunlop said that he had come to an arrangement with Mr O'Callaghan in relation to his fees which were paid into one of his companies, Shefran Ltd.