Developer admits he 'read the market badly'
Published 14/01/2010 | 05:00
DEVELOPER Bernard McNamara last night admitted he had "read the market badly" as his creditors pursued him for €1.5bn in debt.
He also said he would put everything on the line and would be willing to move out of his Ailesbury Road mansion, settling for a smaller home or a "campsite in Clare".
Those who know him say he is a workaholic.
He was elected twice to Clare County Council but then ran unsuccessfully for the Dail as a Fianna Fail candidate in the 1981 General Election.
This ended his political career and he later took over the family building firm, Michael McNamara & Company, and moved to Dublin.
Before he became an investor in the Shelbourne Hotel he was a regular in its Horseshoe Bar -- a well-known haunt for making political contacts. He was soon on the board of a number of state companies, including the National Roads Authority, Great Southern Hotels and the National Gallery.
A combination of political and networking skills helped him make the successful transition from builder to property developer in the 1990s. He went on to be one of the most aggressive developers in the boom.
Sources said Mr McNamara sets aside little time for play outside of his family and a few rounds of golf.
He has been a patron of several national charities, including the Special Olympics.
His favourite tipple is a pint of Smithwicks, according to one of his friends.
He is also known for his fondness of his home county.
Mr McNamara once said: "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you want."
His 60th birthday is surely an experience he won't forget.