Liam T. Cosgrave

Liam Thomas Cosgrave (born 30 April 1956) is an Irish former Fine Gael politician who served as Leas-Chathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann from 1997 to 2002, Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann from 1996 to 1997 and a Senator for the Industrial and Commercial Panel from 1993 to 2002. He previously served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dún Laoghaire constituency from 1981 to 1987.[1]

Liam Cosgrave
Leas-Chathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann
In office
18 September 1997  13 September 2002
CathaoirleachBrian Mullooly
Preceded byBrian Mullooly
Succeeded byPaddy Burke
Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann
In office
27 November 1996  17 September 1997
DeputyBrian Mullooly
Preceded byBrian Mullooly
Succeeded byBrian Mullooly
In office
1 July 1993  12 August 2002
ConstituencyIndustrial and Commercial Panel
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1981  June 1987
ConstituencyDún Laoghaire
Personal details
Born (1956-04-30) 30 April 1956 (age 65)
Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Spouse(s)Ann Marie Flanigan (m. 1984)
RelationsW. T. Cosgrave (grandfather)
Alma mater

Coming from a political family, he is the son of Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave and grandson of the first President of the Executive Council W. T. Cosgrave.


He was elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1981 general election as a Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, and re-elected at the February 1982 and November 1982 general elections.[2] He lost his seat at the 1987 general election, and was unsuccessful again at the 1989 and 1992 general elections.[2]

He was elected to Seanad Éireann in 1993 as a Senator for the Industrial and Commercial Panel, serving as Cathaoirleach, and was re-elected in 1997 to the 21st Seanad.[2] At the 2002 general election, he was again an unsuccessful candidate for the Dáil in Dún Laoghaire, and he did not contest the Seanad elections of that year.

The Mahon Tribunal, set up to investigate allegations of corruption among Irish politicians, heard in 2003 that Cosgrave had accepted illegal payments from property developers in return for voting to rezone property in Dublin. He resigned from the Fine Gael party when this became known, thereby effectively ending his political career.

He did not seek re-election to Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council at the 2004 local elections.

On 17 October 2005, Cosgrave pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to disclose to the Standards in Public Office Commission a political donation of £2,500 received from lobbyist Frank Dunlop in the course of the 1997 general election.[3][4] He was sentenced on 26 May 2006 to perform 75 hours of community service in lieu of a six-month custodial sentence.[5]

Mahon Tribunal

Cosgrave appeared at the Mahon Tribunal on 14 July 2006 in relation to a planning application from Monarch Properties to re-zone 236 acres (0.96 km2) at Cherrywood, County Dublin.[6]

He told the Tribunal that his decision to support the re-zoning was not a U-turn in return for a political donation. But he could not recall the reason for his decision. He said that he could not recollect whether he had received any donations from Monarch, or other developers at the time; but that there could have been some.

Criminal Assets Bureau investigation and subsequent legal actions

The Criminal Assets Bureau secured a High Court order preventing the sale of 107 acres (0.43 km2) of land assets owned by Jackson Way Properties Ltd in Carrickmines. An investigation of corruption was being instituted on the basis of bribes allegedly paid to councillors by Frank Dunlop to secure re-zoning on 16 December 1997. The re-zoning was investigated by the Mahon Tribunal in 2003.

On 26 October 2010, Cosgrave appeared at Dublin District Court charged with five offences. He is alleged to have received corrupt payments between 1992 and 1997 in relation to the re-zoning of Jackson Way Properties Ltd.[7]

In April 2012, he failed in his attempt to stop his trial on corruption charges. The Supreme Court upheld the High Court's decision by a majority of three to two.[8] He went on trial in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on 4 July 2013, on five counts of corruptly receiving money on dates between June 1992 and December 1997.[9]

The trial subsequently collapsed, and a nolle prosequi verdict was entered on the record.[10]


  1. "Liam T. Cosgrave". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  2. "Liam T. Cosgrave". Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  3. "Cosgrave pleads guilty to donation offence". RTÉ News. 17 October 2005.
  4. "Cosgrave faces community service sentence". RTÉ News. 27 February 2006.
  5. "Cosgrave sentenced to community service". RTÉ News. 26 May 2006.
  6. "Flood Tribunal report" (PDF). Flood Tribunal. 14 July 2006.
  7. Tuite, Tom (27 October 2010). "Cosgrave in court on zoning corruption charges". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  8. "Liam Cosgrave fails in appeal to stop trial on corruption charges". RTÉ News. 27 April 2012.
  9. "Five go on trial for receiving corrupt rezoning payments". The Irish Times. 4 July 2013.
  10. "Corruption Trial against councillors collapses". The Irish Examiner. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
Preceded by
Brian Mullooly
Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann
Succeeded by
Brian Mullooly