Friday 26 December 2014

McFeely: Priory Hall was not a shoddy fire trap

Published 25/02/2014 | 02:30

BBC SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS TOM MCFEELY
Tome McFeely on the BBC spotlight programme

DISGRACED property developer and former IRA man Tom McFeely is still claiming that Priory Hall should not have been evacuated and has refused to apologise to its former residents.

The developer makes a series of provocative comments in an interview to be broadcast tonight, arguing that he still doesn't think the apartment complex is a "shoddy building".

Mr McFeely attacks the media and even goes as far as to claim that he has been scapegoated over the affair.

Mr McFeely also comments for the first time on the death of Fiachra Daly. The father of two took his own life under the strain of dealing with mortgage arrears on the Priory Hall flat he'd been forced to leave.

And Mr McFeely denies that €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.

"All I can tell you is, right, it is not my money. Do you think for one moment (if) I left money behind me and I forgot about it, that even (if) the house was full of five or six or eight or 10 security men, that I wouldn't have went in and took it out again?"

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

Mr McFeely has been notoriously reluctant to give interviews since the development was condemned as a death trap.

Speaking to BBC One Northern Ireland's 'Spotlight' programme, he 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."

BANKRUPTCY

He added: "I do not believe that Priory Hall should have been evacuated, because it is not the fire trap they said it was."

But Graham Usher, a spokesperson for the former Priory Hall residents, dismissed Mr McFeely's claims.

"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.

"What else can you say really? There was a fire officer's report that said, essentially, the building is a fire trap. Tom McFeely was in court, he didn't dispute that finding," said Mr Usher.

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 something, if you were hungry tomorrow, which of the two passports would you eat to put the hunger off you?"

Mr McFeely also tells 'Spotlight' he would overturn his bankruptcy, regain his fortune and one day live again on Ailesbury Road in Dublin 4.

The programme is due to be shown tonight on BBC One Northern Ireland at 10.35pm.

Irish Independent

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