independent

Monday 21 April 2014

St Luke's set for sale as Fianna Fail finally picks up the keys

FIANNA Fail will decide in the new year what to do with Bertie Ahern's former headquarters of St Luke's – with selling the property viewed as the most likely option.

The base of the infamous 'Drumcondra mafia' for the past 25 years was formally handed over to the party at the weekend.

Its politically toxic history, through its links with Mr Ahern, makes it an unattractive location for the party to operate from as it seeks to break from the past.

Although its value has dropped, the building is estimated to be worth €350,000-€400,000.

"There has been no real discussion about it and won't be until the new year," a party source said.

Fianna Fail is still working to clear its debt from the last general election.

The idea of using St Luke's as a base for the party's representatives on the northside of Dublin has also been mooted.

But the building's close association with Mr Ahern and tribunal investigations means there is little enthusiasm to work from there.

Without a TD in the Dublin Central constituency, it is also hard to justify and pay for the office to be kept open.

The house is vacant.

Since it was bought in 1987, St Luke's has been owned by trustees, who were all close to Mr Ahern.

After the Mahon tribunal fallout, it was agreed its ownership would be transferred to the party nationally.

Fianna Fail said the trustees of St Luke's "engaged proactively and positively with this process".

"Fianna Fail wishes to thank the trustees of St Luke's for their full and active co-operation throughout."

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail has raised over €1m this year from its national raffle and national collection.

After bringing in €600,000 this week in ticket sales, leader Micheal Martin hailed the national superdraw as the "most successful in the party's history".

Mr Martin said the money raised would be going to support the party's work on the ground, including campaigning and building up a ticket of candidates for the 2014 local elections.

Irish Independent

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