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Saturday 30 August 2014

People of Ireland I am truly sorry... former 'Baron of Ballsbridge' Sean Dunne has filed for bankruptcy in the United States

RONALD QUINLAN Special Correspondent

Published 31/03/2013 | 05:00

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ONE-TIME MOGUL: “If life is equated to a game of golf, I feel I still have the back nine to play,” says Sean Dunne, pictured on New York’s Park Avenue yesterday.

But says Dunne ‘I paid €350m in tax to Irish economy... my debt is paid’

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Records of Mr Dunne's application to the bankruptcy court in Connecticut show the developer – who, during the boom, famously paid more than €500m for seven acres occupied by the former Jurys and Berkeley Court hotels – submitted his bankruptcy application online late last Friday night.

The timing of Mr Dunne's move won't be lost on Nama and the Ulster Bank, both of whom have been pursuing the developer and his wife Gayle Killilea through the courts here and in the US for some time now.

While Mr Dunne's decision to declare himself bankrupt will no doubt be met with an angry reaction from his creditors and the Irish public – for whom he has long been held up as the poster child for the boom and crash that followed – he is clear in his views about his and Ireland's economic downfall.

The Carlow-born developer defends his business decisions.

He points to the €100m in personal taxes he paid during his lengthy career here, and mounts a blistering attack on both Nama and the Ulster Bank – accusing them of having him on a "wanted list like the Americans in Iraq" where he is the "ace of spades".

"Some do find it ironic that those who paid their taxes, invested in the Irish economy and lost their shirts as a result, are now pariahs.

"This conveys the message that if you invest and live in Ireland you are a fool and will eventually be the subject of attack.

"If you leave Ireland, invest elsewhere and pay tax elsewhere you are not just a really clever business man, you are a hero.

"The sum total of this message: do not invest in Ireland.

"As long as this message permeates, I do not know how the country is going to recover," Mr Dunne writes.

Reflecting on the fallout from the collapse of the property market, in which he had been a key player, he says: "The idea that the Irish taxpayer would be made liable for developers' and bank debts was equally incomprehensible and beyond anyone's worst nightmare.

"I regret any involvement I have had in making life difficult financially for any Irish resident."

Irish Independent

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