Sunday 21 December 2014

Residents' square deal as park back in public hands

Cormac McQuinn, Grainne Cunningham and Donal Buckley

Published 05/12/2012 | 05:00

THE controversial Dartmouth Square is back in public ownership, having been sold to residents and Dublin City Council for €142,000.

Businessman Noel O'Gara made a dramatic appearance outside the auction rooms just as Lot 24 was offered for sale.

The businessman who caused consternation among residents when he tried to open a car park on the site claimed that he had been "robbed".

The two-acre Georgian square, which went under the hammer at an upper reserve of €140,000, initially failed to attract any offers at the Allsop auction of distressed properties – although four pre-registered bidders were present.

But a private deal resulted in the Ranelagh park being returned to public use, Labour Councillor Mary Freehill told the Irish Independent.

Cllr Freehill said she was "absolutely thrilled" that the square had been bought by the city council, with the help of local residents although she conceded "we paid more for it than we should have".

However, she said this "lovely, lovely park" was now back in public ownership "and that is what is really important".

Mr O'Gara, who bought it for €10,000 in 2005, turned up at the auction in the Shelbourne Hotel just as it went under the hammer. "Why wouldn't I come down? I'm being robbed," he claimed.

Last week, Mr O'Gara failed in a bid to have a settlement agreement over ownership of the square set aside by the High Court. This meant the sale for the liquidator of his company Marble and Granite Tiles went ahead.

Meanwhile, the auction meant a dream came true for one Dublin man who bought the family's first home as a pre-Christmas surprise for his wife.

Lakhvir Singh, an Indian national who works as a chef in Rathgar, was delighted with the €63,000 price tag he eventually paid for a ground-floor two-bedroom apartment in Clondalkin.

Mr Singh, who attended the auction with 18-month-old daughter Avneet, did not even tell his wife he was going to bid at the auction. The couple, who also have a three-year-old son, have lived in Ireland for the past decade and have been married for the past five years. They have never owned a home.

"I called my wife, she was very surprised," a delighted Mr Singh said.

Builder Tom Cunningham, from Lismore, Co Waterford, picked up his own bargain, buying seven houses in Williamstown, Co Galway, for €100,000. He told the Irish Independent he was hoping to finish them off within a year and sell them.

As many as 91 of the 104 lots offered at the Allsop Space auction sold, generating €14.3m.

Irish Independent

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