Irish News

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Don't blame me for Priory Hall suicide, says McFeely

Published 26/02/2014|02:30

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BBC Spotlight interviews Tom McFeely
BBC SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS TOM MCFEELY
Tom McFeely on the BBC spotlight programme
Stephanie Meehan

DISGRACED property developer Tom McFeely has for the first time denied that he carries any blame for the tragic death of former Priory Hall resident Fiachra Daly.

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Mr Daly took his own life under the strain of dealing with mortgage arrears on the Priory Hall flat which he and his family had been forced to leave for safety reasons.

Former IRA man McFeely, who developed the firetrap complex, has until now refused to comment on the death.

Speaking to BBC One Northern Ireland's 'Spotlight' programme, McFeely insisted that he did not see how he could be held in any way responsible for the death of the father of two.

"Why didn't everybody else not commit suicide in Priory Hall, what was the difference there, you know?" he said.

"I mean we are getting into something here and we are arguing about something that is very, very emotional and very stressful on his family that is left behind and it shouldn't be. I am not to blame for his suicide," he said.

Last night, Graham Usher, a spokesman for former Priory Hall residents, declined to comment on McFeely's latest outrageous remarks.

Mr Daly's partner Stephanie Meehan didn't return calls for comment.

Mr McFeely's view was immediately slammed by TD Tommy Broughan, who represents the Dublin North constituency. He said: "I think these comments are extremely insensitive and disrespectful for the terrible tragedy that befell Stephanie and Fiachra.

"The strong feeling in my constituency is that the complex should be torn down and those responsible should be held to account."

McFeely's disgusting claim was made amid a series of provocative comments throughout the interview, arguing that he still didn't think the apartment complex was a "shoddy building".

FIRETRAP

He also denied that the €200,000 found stashed behind a bath in his former mansion on Ailesbury Road belonged to him.

Asked where it came from, he said: "Don't ask me, you may ask the people that put it there."

The Priory Hall complex of almost 200 apartments had to be evacuated in October 2011 over fire safety concerns.

Speaking to the 'Spotlight' programme, McFeely was asked whether he would apologise for failings surrounding the complex.

He replied: "We are getting to the sort of the level of the gutter media again, what would I apologise for? I don't think it's a shoddy building, you see. I don't think it is any different than most of the other buildings in Dublin.

"I do not believe that Priory Hall should have been evacuated, because it is not the firetrap they said it was."

Mr Usher previously dismissed McFeely's claim that the development wasn't "shoddy". He said: "The facts are well established at this stage. If he wanted to dispute the fire officer's report, he could have done so in court."

Mr McFeely was also asked why he applied for bankruptcy in Britain, rather than Ireland, given his history as an Irish republican prisoner.

He said: "Tell me, if you were hungry tomorrow, which of the two passports would you eat to put the hunger off you?"

By Luke Byrne and Fiona Dillon

Irish Independent

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