Friday 20 October 2017

NAMA horsey set's €1.5m winnings -- funded by you

SEAN MULRYAN: Has enjoyed the taxpayers' contributions. Photo: Frank McGrath
SEAN MULRYAN: Has enjoyed the taxpayers' contributions. Photo: Frank McGrath

JOHN REYNOLDS

Racehorse-owning developers whose companies' loans have been transferred to NAMA -- and their wives -- have won almost €1.5m over the past five years, some of which was funded by the taxpayer, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

According to official figures from Horse Racing Ireland, developers Sean Mulryan, Seamus Ross, Gerry Gannon and Michael O'Flynn, as well as Mr Mulryan's wife Bernadine and developer Bernard McNamara's wife Moira, have pocketed €1,489,432 in winnings from their racehorses since the beginning of 2006.

Although the organisation's funding has been cut by €15m since 2008, €25.19m -- 55 per cent of Horse Racing Ireland's taxpayer-funded grant which is allocated to horse racing -- goes on prize money.

Mr Mulryan's horses have earned him €577,290 over the past five years, although only €10,850 of this was in 2010. Mr O'Flynn's horses won €370,855, while Mr Ross's earned €281,070 between 2006 and 2009. Gannon earned just €16,750 in 2007.

Moira McNamara's horses earned her €277,852, mainly in 2007 and 2008.

Bernadine Mulryan's winnings amounted to €11,865, while she also shared an additional €94,640 with two other owners.

Mr Mulryan no longer owns any horses, a spokesman said, adding that any prize money he or his wife won was far outweighed by their support for the horse racing industry over previous years.

Other developers and the two wives were not available for comment.

A spokesman for the National Asset Management Agency would not comment on whether it had made any demands of developers in relation to racehorses, adding: "Nama's objective is to ensure that borrowers direct all their assets towards repaying their debts to the taxpayer."

Cork developer Mr O'Flynn recently stated that his personal affairs were not linked with the O'Flynn Group, adding that he hadn't provided any personal guarantees for company loans.

His companies' development loans had only been transferred to Nama as this was required under legislation, he stressed, adding that he was proud of his ongoing personal involvement in the horse racing industry.

Mr Gannon, Mr McNamara, Mr O'Flynn and Mr Mulryan were among the 10 property developers whose companies' loans totalling €16bn were among the first to be transferred to Nama last year.

Mr Ross, meanwhile, is the Menolly Homes developer.

Sunday Indo Business

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