Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Probe under way after €140,000 is found hidden under bath in mansion seized from bankrupted former Provo

€140,000 is found hidden under bath in mansion seized from bankrupted former Provo

Tom McFeely was previous owner of the property
Tom McFeely was previous owner of the property

An investigation has been launched after a plumber discovered €140,000 (£118,000) stashed under a bath in the former home of an IRA hunger striker who is now a controversial property tycoon in the Republic.

The six-figure cash haul was found by the workman in the luxury property, which was repossessed last year from bankrupt millionaire Tom McFeely.

The Republic's Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was alerted following the find at the mansion on the affluent Ailesbury Road in Ballsbridge, south Dublin.

An investigation is now under way, with CAB officers trying to determine who the legitimate owner of the money is.

McFeely spent 53 days without food in the Maze during the 1980 hunger strike.

He was serving 12 years for shooting a police officer.

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 said he had been under stress following the evacuation from their home. McFeely, from Dungiven in Co Londonderry, 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 it was impossible for their client to comply with orders because he had been evicted from the site. The Republic's 'bad bank', the National Assets Management Agency (Nama), took over McFeely's Ballsbridge mansion after he was declared bankrupt last summer.

It was placed on the market at €3m (£2.5m) – just a fraction of previous valuations of around €15m (£12.7m).

The house was bought by Hilary Hynes, the wife of public relations guru and former Sunday Times Irish editor Rory Godson, who has been based in London since 2000.

A builder had been asked by the new owner to carry out renovations on the house, and during work on the bathroom at lunchtime the money was discovered by a plumber.

McFeely has claimed in the past that he has bank debts in excess of €200m (£169m).

Despite this, it was also reported that McFeely has made contact with London financiers in his bid to raise €10m (£8.5m) to allow him to bounce back into business.

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