Saturday 27 May 2017

Shane Filan's brother Finbarr on jobs, debt and his bid for the Dáil

Shane Filan and his brother Finbarr’s plans to build a property empire ended in bankruptcy back in 2013
Shane Filan and his brother Finbarr’s plans to build a property empire ended in bankruptcy back in 2013
The former Westlife singer Shane Filan with his wife Gillian
John Downing

John Downing

Shane Filan's brother Finbarr has spoken frankly about his efforts to deal with his debts, originally put at €15m, as he declared his candidacy for Renua Ireland.

He will be standing in the newly reconfigured four-seat Sligo-Leitrim constituency for the party, which is headed by Lucinda Creighton.

Westlife singer Shane Filan and Finbarr became involved in a building and property business, which ended in early 2013 with massive debts.

Shane was declared bankrupt in Britain, where he then lived, but Finbarr, an industrial engineer, said he had continued to work with the banks to resolve his debts.

"That is an ongoing process and I expect I'll be meeting again this week with the banks," Mr Filan said.

Finbarr returned to his family's shop in Castle Street in Sligo. "I had to retrain in retail and I've worked at it ever since. Now we have 22 people employed," he said.

The idea of going into politics began when he read a newspaper article about the earlier manifestation of Renua, 'Reboot Ireland'. He attended a meeting in Sligo hosted by Ms Creighton in early April.

"I'm involved in small business and I think that is where the future of this economy lies. When I started working on Castle Street there were 61 people working on the street," he said.

"Now that number has increased to 161 and that is how jobs will be built up, in ones and twos and so on."

He hopes to become a political voice for small business and community activists. "Neither I nor anybody in my family was even a member of a political party up to now, but I'm ready to learn," said Finbarr.

Meanwhile, Enda Kenny's first director of elections has joined Renua.

Frank Durcan was Mr Kenny's director of elections for the 1975 by-election which saw the Taoiseach successfully contest his late father Henry's Dáil seat.

Mr Durcan also worked closely with Mr Kenny on other election campaigns until 1984. But later Mr Durcan served as an independent on Mayo County Council.

Mr Durcan said he joined Renua because he believed it was the only "credible political party".

He also paid tribute to Ms Creighton, whom he described as "another Mary Robinson in the making".

Irish Independent

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