independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Court asked to give 'McFeely bath money' to Priory Hall widow

Stephanie Meehan was one of more than 200 residents evacuated from Priory Hall two years ago when the building was condemned as a firetrap.

Stephanie Meehan, with her children, Oisin (8) and Cerys (2)

THE court official managing developer Tom McFeely's bankruptcy has asked the High Court to release some of the €200,000 found at his home to the partner of a Priory Hall resident who committed suicide.

This morning Official Assignee Chris Lehane asked High Court judge Mr Justice Brian McGovern to release €5,000 to Stephanie Meehan at the request of the new owners of Mr McFeely's former home.

Mr McFeely denied he owned the cash and claimed gardai had placed it there, the High Court heard.

But Mr Lehane said he was satisfied that the money was the property of Mr McFeely.

Stephanie Meehan was one of more than 200 residents evacuated from Priory Hall two years ago when the building was condemned as a firetrap.

The residents' campaign for a solution to their plight fell on deaf ears until Ms Meehan highlighted how her partner, Fiachra Daly, took his own life because of the stress of Priory Hall and the family's mounting mortgage debt.

Public outrage prompted the Government to set up a talks process which resulted in a deal that leaves residents mortgage free so they can find new homes.

Former resident  Fiachra Daly, who committed suicide, with his partner Stephanie Meehan
Former resident Fiachra Daly, who committed suicide, with his partner Stephanie Meehan

Last September €140,000 was found in McFeely's former home on Ailesbury Road.

A plumber involved in renovation work on the property came across it in €50 notes, shortly after the property was sold by the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA).

Days later, gardai uncovered a further €60,000.

The €200,000 sum was subsequently given to Mr Lehane to distribute to Mr McFeely's creditors.

As secured creditors of the bankrupt developer, Bank of Ireland and Irish Nationwide Building Society — now part of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation — were set to receive a sizeable portion of the stash.

Unsecured creditors, such as residents of Priory Hall, were not expected to receive any cash.

However this morning  judge McGovern ordered that €2,500 be paid to each of the two builders who found the monies under the bath in Mr McFeely's home and €5,000 is to be given to the homeowners.

But the homeowners wanted their €5,000 to go to Ms Meehan she will receive the money today, the High Court heard.

Under the resolution deal for Priory Hall residents, around 90 former owner-occupiers will have their old mortgage debts written off and be given a fresh start with new 100pc mortgages to buy new homes.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described the residents of Priory Hall as "victims of one of the worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger era".

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