Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Enda Kenny: €200,000 found in former home of ex-Provo turned property developer 'smacks of Celtic Tiger years'

Tom McFeely
Tom McFeely

Two hundred thousand euro discovered in the former home of Provo-turned-property developer Tom McFeely has been handed over to the courts as a fingertip search of the mansion was wound down.

Detectives said they were satisfied an extensive examination of the vast house - including lifting floorbeds and pulling down partition walls - had uncovered all the cash hidden inside.

The stash came to light after a plumber carrying out work on the bathroom found 140,000 euro (£117,652) hidden under a bath.

Days later search teams sent in by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) pulled out another 60,000 euro (£50,435), made up of 50 euro notes wrapped in rubber bands and plastic bags.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Ireland toxic assets agency Nama - which has seized bankrupt McFeely's property and loans - would be interested in the discoveries.

"I think all of that smacks of what happened during the so-called Tiger years, when you had profligacy and greed and money sloshing around in so many places, that this is further evidence of what happened," he said.

The gardens and drains of the extensive Victorian red brick property were searched throughout today with teams of gardai also seen removing bags from inside the home and using heavy tools including long handled shovels, axes and ladders for the operation.

A Garda source confirmed CAB ordered a fingertip search of the mansion on the affluent Ailesbury Road in Ballsbridge, south Dublin, following Friday's first find.

The money will remain in a bank account under the control of an official assignee appointed by the High Court until a legitimate owner has been identified.

McFeely served 12 years in the Maze Prison for shooting an RUC officer in Derry and spent 53 days without food during the 1980 hunger strikes.

But he has remained in the media spotlight over the years - most recently having been embroiled in a court case involving the controversial Priory Hall development in Donaghmede, north Dublin.

Some 65 families were forced to move out of the complex in October 2011 after experts deemed it a fire hazard and a string of construction defects were found.

Fiachra Daly, a former resident, took his own life in July. His partner Stephanie Meehan has said he had been under stress following the evacuation from their home.

McFeely, originally from Co Derry, avoided going back behind bars last July after successfully overturning a contempt of court judgment.

The developer appealed against a judgment that he broke court orders.

He had been ordered by the High Court in Dublin to carry out remedial works at Priory Hall, but was sentenced and fined when he did not.

Barristers for McFeely appealed on the grounds it was impossible for their client to comply with orders because he had been evicted from the site.

The state's bad bank, the National Assets Management Agency (Nama), repossessed McFeely's Ballsbridge mansion after he was declared bankrupt last summer.

It was placed on the market at three million euro (£2.5 million) - just a fraction of previous valuations of around 15 million euro (£12.6 million).

The house was sold and renovations are now under way.

McFeely has claimed in the past that he has bank debts in excess of 200 million euro (£168 million).

 

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