herald

Thursday 19 April 2018

Developer who lifted the lid on corruption dies

Tom Gilmartin
Tom Gilmartin

TOM Gilmartin, the property developer who blew the whistle on planning corruption, has passed away after a long illness.

Mr Gilmartin was in his late 70s and died in Cork University Hospital.

He was a key witness at the planning tribunal, which found Fianna Fail Minister and EU Commissioner Padraig Flynn "wrongly and corruptly" sought a substantial donation from him.

Having been paid IR£50,000 intended for Fianna Fail by Mr Gilmartin, Mr Flynn used the money for his personal benefit.

Mr Gilmartin's allegations also resulted in former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's appearance before the tribunal.

The developer agreed to give evidence to the tribunal after an infamous appearance by Mr Flynn on the Late Late Show, where he denied receiving any payment and said Mr Gilmartin and his wife were not in good health, describing him as "out of sorts".

Mr Flynn's remarks prompted Mr Gilmartin to co-operate with the tribunal as it was unclear if he would give evidence.

In a statement, Mr Gilmartin's family said he had died peacefully at Cork University Hospital.

"We will greatly miss a much loved husband, father and grandfather," the statement said.

"We mourn the loss of a truly honest, honourable and courageous man." Originally from Sligo, Mr Gilmartin left home in 1957, against his father's wishes, to pursue a career in Britain.

He built a hugely successful engineering business based in Luton in England.

Mr Gilmartin retired from Britain to live in Cork.

He initially resided in the Lough area of the southside of the city before moving to a property off the Model Farm Road in the suburb Bishopstown.

 

ALLEGATIONS

He had suffered ill health over recent years, but had repeatedly expressed his annoyance over much of the media coverage of the planning tribunal.

However, his experiences of planning in Dublin, particularly in relation to a proposed shopping centre, were the primary causes for the establishment of the Mahon planning tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Many of Mr Gilmartin's allegations involved the late Liam Lawlor and Cork-based property developer Owen O'Callaghan.

Following the publication of the hard-hitting Mahon Tribunal report, the Gilmartin family claimed it was a total vindication of Mr Gilmartin's position.

Mr Gilmartin alleged money was demanded from him at various stages by politicians and councillors.

hnews@herald.ie

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