Christy Burke describes Gilmartin's claims as totally without foundation
Sinn Féin Councillor Christy Burke who is at the Mahon Tribunal today has described allegations made by Tom Gilmartin as "totally without foundation" and said "not surprisingly not one shred of evidence has been produced to back them up. I never met Tom Gilmartin in my life. I was not a member of Dublin County Council and had no vote or influence in relation to the Quarryvale decision."
Councillor Burke said:
“The facts are very straight forward. I have never met Tom Gilmartin in my life. I have been a councillor for the north inner city of Dublin for more than two decades and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of this area. I was never a member of Dublin County Council and had no vote or influence in relation to Quarryvale. In fact Sinn Féin had no member on Dublin County Council at that time and therefore did not have a vote on this matter.
“John McCann, who was a member of Sinn Féin in Quarryvale at the time but not a member of Dublin County Council, did meet with Tom Gilmartin and Owen O’Callaghan. He did so in his capacity as secretary of the Quarryvale Residents Association and was accompanied by its Chairperson. Mr. McCann has made a full statement to the Tribunal.
“In the early 1990s Clondalkin and Blanchardstown were suffering acute deprivation and poverty with rapid population growth. Some estates had grown by more than 50% between 1986 and 1991 and had unemployment rates of up to 46%. Transport in and out of the area and resources in local schools and community centres were minimal while leisure facilities were basically non-existent. And there was a growing heroin epidemic.
“Dublin Sinn Féin publicly supported the Quarryvale and Blanchardstown projects for the simple reason that we believed that both centres were viable and if properly developed could have made a huge contribution to both communities.
“The completion of the Square in Tallaght in 1990 had a profound effect on local communities across Dublin at the time. Here was a state of the art centre in an area suffering from high employment and a serious drugs epidemic, providing not just much needed shops, but employment opportunities as well as leisure facilities.
“Unfortunately the expectations of local people in Clondalkin and Blanchardstown were never realised. They were badly let down by those politicians guilty of corruption and those who abandoned them at state level. There is still an appalling lack of infrastructure in the form of roads and transport, local shops, schools, health centres and leisure and community amenities. The vast majority of the problems still being faced in these communities have come about as a direct consequence of the corruption in planning and local government which was rampant in Dublin in the 1980s and 1990s.
“The disdain with which locals were treated can be seen in the way in which developers have refused to this day to allow a pedestrian crossing from Quarryvale estate to the retail outlets at Liffey Valley forcing local people to walk unnecessary distances and cross busy roads to get to what were meant to be local shops.
“Sinn Féin has supported the work of the Tribunal since it was established more than a decade ago and we have done all that we can to co-operate with it. However, it is frustrating that so few prosecutions have resulted from the tribunal's work to date.”ENDS
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