, (born October 9 1947
in County Kilkenny
) is a former broadcast journalist with RTÉ
serving in Dublin
. He is a key witness to The Mahon Tribunal which is investigating improper payments by property developers to Irish politicians and will be a key witness in pending corruption cases involving property developers and politicians to whom he paid bribes
on their behalf.
Party and Government Press Secretary
He was appointed Press Secretary of the Fianna Fáil
party in 1974, based at Leinster House
. He was head of the Irish Government
's Information Service and Government Press Secretary from 1977 to 1982, a position that had been established on Dunlop's recommendation. This role involved developing relationships with media outlets, including RTÉ, The Irish Times
, Irish Independent
amongst others. There were no other authorised radio stations in Ireland at this stage although there were quite a number of illegal broadcasters. The Government Information Service, prior to Dunlop's time, was the established unit of the Taoiseach
's office for the dissemination of information relating to the activities of the Government. Dunlop described its role to The Mahon Tribunal
in 2003, as being a 'post office' - "it just delivered copies of statements, speeches, announcements, CSO details to the news desks of newspapers; there was no substantive policy discussions with the media prior to that time
The objective was to facilitate an understanding in the media of what Fianna Fáil was doing or was about at that time. This role enabled Dunlop to develop significant relationships with political correspondents, news reporters, editorial personnel and politicians.
Departments of Education and Environment
Following a change in government, Dunlop was an established civil servant with the rank of Assistant Secretary. He moved to the Department of Education when John Boland
was Minister and his role was liaison with the media. He made some inputs on policy matter on education.
He subsequently moved with Mr Boland to the Department of the Environment and worked there for about two years as Assistant Secretary with responsibility for media matters but he had no input on planning matters.
Public Relations Consultant
Dunlop left the civil service in 1986 and became a public relations consultant with Dublin firm, Murray Consultants
. He had a director's role which involved developing a portfolio of clients and he head a target fee income to deliver annually. Access to government enables a public relations consultant to be, in effect, a public affairs consultant and Dunlop's immediate prior experience made him uniquely qualified in this respect.
He resigned from Murray Consultants in 1989 and established his own firm, Frank Dunlop & Associates. He brought his client portfolio with him, paying the parters of Murray Consultants an agreed sum over a period of two or three years. By this stage Dunlop had garnered a knowledge of the essential elements of the Irish planning process although he has no formal training in planning or architecture.
Dunlop told The Mahon Tribunal, in June 2006, that he kept a stash of cash to bribe county councillors on a regular basis in the 18 property development transactions he was involved with as a public relations consultant. He has described how several politicians telephoned him in panic trying to discover how much he had paid them when bribery allegations first emerged. Liam Lawlor introduced him to landowners and developers.
The Mahon Tribunal
The Irish Government established a Tribunal of Inquiry Into Certain Planning Matters and Payments
, The Mahon Tribunal
, formerly known as The Flood Tribunal, on November 4 1997
. The work of this Tribunal is ongoing and Frank Dunlop was a key witness to its deliberations. When he first took the witness stand in 2000, Chairman Flood responded to his evidence by asking him to reflect overnight on his position
. The following day, Dunlop began to reveal payments that he had made to politicians. His eventually ended 124 days on the witness stand in March 2008
Criminal Assets Bureau Investigation
The Criminal Assets Bureau
successfully obtained a High Court order on July 26 2006
freezing land assets of at Carrickmines
, County Dublin
owned by Jackson Way Properties Ltd and preventing their sale. This means that these cannot be sold or pledged as collateral without the consent of the High Court. CAB contended that these lands had been rezoned on December 16 1997
by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
from agricultural to industrial after Dunlop bribed
and made corrupt payments to councillors to secure their support in the rezoning vote. That rezoning vote increased the value of just 17 acres of the property from €8 million to €61 million. CAB has interviewed and took statements from Dunlop between 2004 and 2006. He will be called to testify in the criminal trial.
If this case succeeds the potential money realised by CAB will be substantially more than the yield from gangland criminals since 1996. Other similar cases are likely to ensue involving lands investigated by The Mahon Tribunal.
The lands in question have been the subject of investigation by The Mahon Tribunal in 2003 and 2004.
Dunlop studied for an LL.B degree in Irish Law in Griffith College Dublin, graduating in 2007.