independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Court bid to jail Tom McFeely to resume

Priory Hall developer failed to pay €24k bill

A COURT action to have bankrupt developer Tom McFeely jailed over an unpaid debt is to resume next month.

The former IRA hunger-striker, who built the notorious Priory Hall apartment complex in Donaghmede in Dublin, has failed to pay a €24,288 bill for services obtained from MCR Personnel Ltd, a company which specialises in recruiting for construction firms.

He could face a three-month jail sentence for failing to comply with an instalment order made earlier by Dublin District Court.

He has already given evidence in the proceedings during which he gave an account of his business assets. He had claimed: “Some are in receivership, some in Nama, some retained by the banks”. He had also complained that he was the victim of a “media circus”.

The case had been set to resume on September 24 but today it was given a new date because the judge who has been hearing the evidence will not be available next week.

Judge Aeneas McCarthy granted and adjournment until October 8th.

The district court has already heard McFeely is to be quizzed about an Isle of Man money trail in a trawl of his business dealings.

In June, Benedict O Floinn BL, for MCR Personnel Ltd, had told the court that McFeely has already faced questioning on some of his interests, however, he had added there will be another round of cross-examination in which the developer will be quizzed further on his finances.

“We want to cross-examine him about a trail of money through the Isle of Man via AIB, that is the next stage,” the barrister had explained.

The action to have the builder jailed stems from an unpaid debt to MCR Personnel Ltd, based at Capel Building, in Dublin city-centre. McFeely had originally owed them about €34,000 and had paid €10,000 to the recruitment company.

However, two subsequent cheque payments bounced and Dublin District Court had made an instalment order against him to compel him to clear the balance of €24,288.

The bid to jail McFeely for not paying the debt has been before the district court on several occasions over the past two years.

Last October, he had been questioned in the district court by Mr O Floinn on whether he still had links to assets and business interests in Dublin, Derry, Offaly, London, Portugal and the West Indies.

McFeely had then said he had been adjudicated bankrupt and had denied owning property at Shrewsbury Road, or in Co. Offaly and insisted that he was not the owner of a house in Derry, and he had complained that he was the victim of a “media circus”

McFeely has already been asked about a joint venture in Antigua, and had claimed that he had an option on a site there “but it is not in my name”. He had said it belonged to a company in England, which he did not identify, and had added that he was not one of its directors or shareholders.

He has also insisted that he has not been receiving rent in relation to a basement office in Holles Street in Dublin which had been used temporarily by the One In Four organisation which helps victims of abuse.

He had said his statement of affairs listed 19 individual items but he could not estimate how much they were worth. Land in Stoneybridge in Co. Donegal on which about 36 houses were built was transferred to one of his brothers, he has claimed.

The builder had also denied that he had received a £2m (stg) payment in relation to the Athena Court apartment complex in London or that he had collected £120,000 in rent from the same development.

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