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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Phil Hogan slams McFeely's 'abuse of free speech' on BBC

Published 02/03/2014 | 02:30

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Rogue developer Tom McFeely has been denounced by a Government minister for his "outrageous" BBC interview last week in which he denied responsibility for the Priory Hall debacle.

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Phil Hogan, the Minister for the Environment, said the former IRA man's self-serving interview was an outrageous abuse of free speech.

McFeely used the BBC interview to shrug off responsibility for the tragic death of Fiachra Daly, a father of two who took his own life under the strain of being evacuated from his home and mounting mortgage arrears.

After his death, Mr Daly's fiancee, Stephanie Meehan, forced the Government to find a solution to the debacle by speaking out about his death.

At the Fine Gael Ard Fheis yesterday, Mr Hogan said: "I believe every man and woman present here today would join me in roundly condemning the crazy act of contrition that we saw expressed by that defining rogue builder Mr McFeely in his BBC Northern Ireland interview recently."

He said he does not "buy the theory" that it was important for the nation to hear the former IRA hunger striker's side of the story.

"The McFeelys of this world stand for everything Fine Gael stands against. We stand for the people who have been victimised by the McFeelys of this world.

"We stand for the people of Priory Hall," he said.

McFeely told BBC's Spotlight programme last week that he had nothing to do with Mr Daly's death.

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

Stephanie Meehan has made no public comment on McFeely's interview.

However, Michael Dowling, the financial adviser who helped broker the deal for Priory Hall residents, said that everyone was "appalled" by McFeely's remarks.

Mr Dowling said: "I spoke to a number of residents last week.

"They were all appalled to hear the interview.

"There was no sense of remorse whatsoever, in terms of the problems and difficulties and stresses he caused them, and not only in the past two years since they were evacuated.

"A lot of residents had problems from day one of moving into Priory Hall."

Sunday Independent

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