Sunday 23 July 2017

Wife of bankrupt Dunne demands €120k fireplaces from D4 mansion

Sean Dunne's wife says she will sue the receivers behind the sale of their D4 mansion, writes Ronald Quinlan

Gayle Killilea and husband Sean Dunne at their former home in Ballsbridge in 2008. Photo: Derek Speirs
Gayle Killilea and husband Sean Dunne at their former home in Ballsbridge in 2008. Photo: Derek Speirs
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

The recent sale of developer Sean Dunne's former Shrewsbury Road mansion, Ouragh, is just the latest in a number of transactions changing the face of Dublin 4's most exclusive thoroughfare, but the property's new owner could be facing a potential headache.

The Sunday Independent can reveal that lawyers for Dunne's wife, Gayle Killilea, have written to the receivers appointed by the Bank of Scotland to handle the house's sale demanding the return of the property's four fireplaces to her. The fireplaces are understood to have a combined value of over €120,000.

In a letter sent to receivers HWBC on December 20 last and prior to the house's sale, Killilea's solicitors, MacCarthy Johnston said: "It is our client's intention to remove the fireplaces unless she is compensated for same. We await hearing from you with proposals in this regard and if agreement cannot be reached please confirm that our client will be allowed immediate access to the property to remove her property (to include the fireplaces)."

Warning of the steps Killilea intended to take in absence of an agreement being reached on the matter, the letter added: "Our client will have no choice but to consider taking court injunctive proceedings against you and any potential purchaser to protect her property rights."

While the legal threat was made several months ago, it is understood the receivers have yet to issue a response to it. It is further understood that Killilea has in recent weeks instructed her solicitors to write once more to HWBC, to inform the company of her intention to initiate legal proceedings with the aim of recovering the fireplaces, or receiving full compensation for them. HWBC were unavailable for comment on the matter.

Elsewhere in their letter, Killilea's solicitors informed HWBC that the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) had already been advised of her claim to certain of Ouragh's contents as part of her husband's bankruptcy proceedings.

Killilea said she was claiming a number of artworks and pieces of furniture both under the terms of an agreement she had drawn up in 2010 with Sean Dunne, and on the basis that certain other items had already been owned by her in her own right.

While a limited-edition marble chess set designed by leading Irish artist Graham Knuttel and Viscount David Linley was included in that 2010 agreement, it was not specified in the schedule of items provided by Killilea to the Insolvency Service in December 2015, a copy of which has been seen by this newspaper.

Among the items included in the schedule were: a Markey Robinson painting purchased by Killilea from the late Hugh Charleton at the Apollo Gallery; a painting received as a gift from the artist, 'Rasher'; a large timber-carved Indian elephant received as a wedding gift; and a Tall Man bronze sculpture by the acclaimed sculptor Patrick O'Reilly given to her by Sean Dunne as a birthday gift in 2005 or 2006.

The Sunday Independent understands the Insolvency Service made arrangements with Killilea through her solicitors on March 27 last for her to collect the items specified by her in the schedule from Wilsons Auctions in Dublin.

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