A SERIES of tests to determine the source of €200,000 found in the former home of bankrupt developer Tom McFeely is now being stepped up after a two-day search of his mansion failed to unearth any further hoards.
A huge search of the house and grounds at Ailesbury Road, in Dublin's most expensive residential district, was completed yesterday evening.
The operation, which was spearheaded by the Criminal Assets Bureau, involved specially trained members of the gardai's south-central divisional search team.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said NAMA obviously had a clear interest in developments at Mr McFeely's former house and "we'll see what transpires from the investigation currently under way".
He linked the finds to the excesses of the Celtic Tiger era.
The Taoiseach had been asked at the National Ploughing Championships if the discovery of large sums of money in the house indicated that more attention should be paid to background checks on assets in bankruptcy cases.
Mr Kenny said: "I understand that an inch-by-inch survey or investigation has been carried out, both on this residence and on the grounds of the premises, to see if there is any more there.
"I think all of that smacks of what happened during the so-called Tiger years, when you had profligacy and greed and money sloshing around in so many places that this is further evidence of what happened."
The search had been ordered by CAB officers after a plumber involved in renovation works on Coolbawn at the request of the new owner made an initial find of €140,000 on Friday. It had been concealed under a bath.
Shortly after the garda search got under way on Wednesday, a second find of €60,000 was also discovered in the bathroom.
Officers are satisfied that the two finds are directly linked as the hauls were both comprised of €50 notes, bound with elastic bands and wrapped in plastic bags.
The source of the cash has not yet been established and nobody has come forward to claim ownership of the money.
Officers are trying to trace the source through a number of avenues – including checks on the serial numbers of the notes to establish where they were issued and forensic and other tests on the money. They said they would not be in a position to interview Mr McFeely until further inquiries had been carried out.
After the completion of the operation yesterday evening, officers said they had not taken away any documentation or other items for further examination.
"This was a very thorough search and nothing was left untouched.
"But nothing else has been found and the focus will now be on the tests and checks on the notes already discovered," one officer said.
Tests have already confirmed the money is not counterfeit and in the short term it will remain in a bank account under the control of an official assignee appointed by the High Court to oversee the disposals of Mr McFeely's assets.
The former Provisional IRA hunger striker and convicted terrorist had told the High Court less than a year ago that he had only €1,160 left in the bank and he denied suggestions that he had hidden any assets.