ONE of Ireland's most high- profile developers has called for toxic loans agency NAMA and banks to treat debtors "with humanity".
Paddy Kelly spoke out at the treatment of borrowers following the tragic death of his friend and former business partner Hugh O'Regan.
Mr O'Regan (49) was found dead on the side of the road last Monday night. It is thought that Mr O'Regan died of natural causes.
He was a leading publican and hotelier, widely credited with the development of Dublin's Temple Bar as a cultural and tourism hub.
In an emotional interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Kelly (68) revealed the deep stresses that Mr O'Regan had been under in recent months as years of high profile clashes with his banks took a toll.
"I just spoke to him a few weeks ago," said Mr Kelly, who is a NAMA debtor. "Hugh was deeply wounded by what was going on in.
"There is no compassion, it's as though we don't care for each other anymore. There is a poison in our country, where did that come from?" asked Mr Kelly.
Mr Kelly said that he was seeing developers whose loans have been transferred to NAMA who are now experiencing huge mental health problems.
Other borrowers throughout society were also being pushed to the brink by the banks, he said.
Mr Kelly described Mr O'Regan as a "rare" and "finely tuned" human being who had a massive creative energy that was reflected in his many business projects.
"He had love in his heart," said Mr Kelly, who added that Mr O'Regan had been devastated by the loss of his family home.
Mr O'Regan was famous for establishing the Thomas Read group of pubs across Dublin.
The funeral of Mr O'Regan will take place tomorrow.
His remains will be removed to St Mary's, Star of the Sea Church in Sandymount, Co Dublin, where a funeral Mass will be held at 11.30am.
Mr O'Regan, a noted philanthropist, is survived by his wife Adrienne, sons Stephen, Adam, Alex and Hugo as well as brothers Paul and Declan.