Celtic Tiger poster couple faces losing palatial home
Brian O'Donnell breaks media silence as BoI secures €71.5m judgement
Published 18/12/2011 | 05:00
SOLICITOR Brian O'Donnell -- who with his wife was one of the Celtic Tiger era's poster couples -- admitted yesterday he doesn't know what Bank of Ireland will do in relation to their palatial home in Killiney after the bank secured a €71.5m judgement against them.
But Mr O'Donnell, who has broken his silence in a series of media interviews this week after the judgement, said he hoped the bank would come back and they could work the issue out.
The 9,000sq ft palatial home of Mr O'Donnell and his wife Mary Pat is now threatened if the couple fails to pay the sum and the bank could move to repossess their home.
Mr O'Donnell said he was waiting for letters from the bank to arrive and he spoke of people in similar situations "sitting there in quiet desperation".
"But I am hoping we may be able to sit down and put our proposals to the bank," he said.
His home, 'Gorse Hill' on the exclusive Vico Road, features all the usual appendages of a luxury home -- a swimming pool, tennis courts, its own gym and sauna and several en suite bathrooms.
The couple's neighbours include Enya, Bono, The Edge, Van Morrison and racing legend Eddie Jordan.
The corporate lawyer claimed the "very draconian legal route" the bank followed was totally unnecessary.
"Bank of Ireland's actions have been ill considered and have severely damaged our business and damaged our ability to recover," he said.
"We know we owe the money. We are honest people who want to do the right thing.
"In all the time we have been involved with Bank of Ireland that has been our sole aim. We have always been seeking a solution but the bank has not engaged with us on a commercial level."
Mr O'Donnell told The Marian Finucane show on RTE radio yesterday that he was not looking for sympathy.
"This is a corporate debt, not mine personally," he said. He admitted that the couple had been "through the mill" and they had not been able to meet with anyone senior in the bank even though they had put eight proposals to it.
Asked where had it all gone wrong, Mr O'Donnell replied: "Our assets are still performing. It has not gone wrong."
He explained that he and his wife were not property developers, they hadn't built supermarkets, but had invested in class-A office buildings which had government tenants and these acquisitions were "defensive in nature".
The couple also disputes the figure of €71.5m Bank of Ireland says is owed.