Leading businessman Joe Moran has told the tribunal he only reluctantly agreed to pay £25,000 in fees to Frank Dunlop to lobby for the rezoning of his land in north County Dublin.
Mr Moran said his brother, Colm, and a business partner, Michael Hughes, agreed the fees with Mr Dunlop at a meeting in 1992 and he was informed several days later.
“I said there was no way we should have agreed that.” However, his colleagues told him this was “the going rate”.
At that stage, they had spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on “architects and advisers and everybody else” in trying to develop the lands at Lissenhall, near Swords.
He eventually agreed to pay half upfront and half when Mr Dunlop delivered. “If you want it done, you have to pay it.”
Asked about his contact with Mr Dunlop, Mr Moran replied: “Never met him, never spoke to him, never saw him.”
He denied an intervention by former minister Ray Burke was pivotal to a decision by him to apply for industrial zoning on the land. He had already decided to seek industrial zoning when Mr Burke, at a meeting in the Burlington Hotel in December 1989, advised him to follow this course.