Wednesday 20 September 2017

Priory Hall developers got €30m Irish Nationwide loan

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

CONTROVERSIAL builder Tom McFeely and his former business partner Larry O'Mahony personally borrowed almost €30m from Irish Nationwide to build the condemned Priory Hall complex in Dublin.

And the massive development loan from ex-banker Michael Fingleton's Irish Nationwide Building Society may never be repaid.

Failure to repay the Priory Hall loan will result in a double whammy for Irish taxpayers who are already footing the bill to house stranded residents of the Donaghmede fire-trap flats.

The Irish Independent has learned that state-owned Irish Nationwide extended the massive loan to the two men, but it is not known if any other banks lent supplementary funds to build the development.

Mr McFeely's Coalport Building Company Ltd was the main contractor for the Priory Hall development, but the company itself did not borrow the funds from Irish Nationwide.

NAMA, the State's bad bank, has refused to take over loans associated with the development.

But it has in a separate action repossessed Mr McFeely's €10m Ailesbury Road home. The assets and liabilities of Irish Nationwide were transferred last year to the former Anglo Irish Bank and the merger led to the creation of the IBRC.

But it is understood that the Priory Hall loan to Irish Nationwide -- which appointed a receiver over the apartment block two years ago -- was not repaid before the bailed-out bank was merged with Anglo.

Mr McFeely did not respond to queries in respect of Coalport and other matters, including his efforts to be declared a bankrupt in the UK.

Disclosed

Mr O'Mahony, who emerged from bankruptcy in the UK last April, is abroad. But in a text message he said "all my debts have been disclosed to my trustee and are being dealt with by him".

Mr O'Mahony was made bankrupt in the UK last year with debts of £197m (€226m) -- mostly owed to Irish Nationwide -- and last week told the Irish Independent that all of his liabilities are being managed by a British court official.

In August 2010, Irish Nationwide appointed a receiver to the Priory Hall scheme.

A High Court order, last February, winding up Coalport was lifted weeks later after the company paid Revenue €144,000 in VAT and PRSI.

Then last October the High Court ordered the evacuation of Priory Hall because of serious concerns about fire safety.

It was ordered at the request of Dublin City Council, which is still paying the temporary accommodation costs, security costs and storage costs of some of the residents of Priory Hall in line with court orders.

Mr McFeely successfully filed, last January, for bankruptcy in the UK. But his bankruptcy was later overturned.

Irish Independent

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