Sunday 21 December 2014

No immediate plans to sell Bertie's HQ St Luke's

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 20/03/2014 | 02:30

St Luke’s in Drumcondra which doubled as Bertie Ahern's living quarters for most of his tenure as Taoiseach. Picture: DAVID CONACHY
St Luke’s in Drumcondra which doubled as Bertie Ahern's living quarters for most of his tenure as Taoiseach. Picture: DAVID CONACHY

FIANNA Fail has made no decision on whether to sell off Bertie Ahern's former headquarters St Luke's, which property experts now believe could fetch well over half a million euro.

Party bosses have previously considered disposing of the property due to its "toxic links" to the Ahern era and the Mahon Tribunal.

However, Fianna Fail's general secretary Sean Dorgan yesterday insisted that an immediate sale was not on the cards after it emerged that the party's finances had drastically improved.

"In relation to St Luke's, the party owns a number of properties across the country, and that's a matter for the national party trustees and no decision has been taken in relation to that property," he said.

One auctioneer last night said St Luke's would fetch €550,000 as property prices in the capital continue to rise.

Vincent Kelly, who is a senior negotiator at Kelly Dalton Bradshaw auctioneers, revealed that a "bidding war" has erupted involving a similar property just metres away from St Luke's.

"It is a fine piece of property in the heart of Drumcondra.

"It has real access, is a detached building and has a lovely back garden," he told the Irish Independent.

St Luke's was the base of the infamous 'Drumcondra mafia' for 25 years – a group made up of some of Mr Ahern's closest allies.

The office doubled as Mr Ahern's living quarters for the majority of his tenure as Taoiseach.

But after the Mahon Tribunal fallout, it was agreed its ownership would be transferred to the party nationally.

Mr Ahern handed the keys back to the party in 2012. However, the building has lain idle ever since.

One party source yesterday mooted the prospect of using St Luke's as the base of European election candidate Mary Fitzpatrick if she is successful in May's elections.

Such a move would be dramatic given the fact that Ms Fitzpatrick claimed that she was "shafted" by the 'Drumcondra mafia' during consecutive elections.

Irish Independent

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