News Michael O'Doherty

Saturday 30 August 2014

Jackie and Bill want to be seen as the new poor, but they're still rich

Michael O'Doherty

Published 11/07/2014 | 10:04

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Wednesday 30 April 2014. Punchestown Races, Jackie Lavin.
Jackie Lavin
Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen
Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen
30/04/2014 Jackie Lavin & Bill Cullen at the Punchestown 2014 festival at Punchestown Racecourse Co. Kildare. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Jackie Lavin & Bill Cullen at the Punchestown 2014 festival at Punchestown Racecourse Co. Kildare. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

BACK in March, Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen gave one of several interviews they've conducted in the last year, bemoaning the fact that they lost their car business, and their beloved Muckross Park Hotel.

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And announcing that they were back at work together with a new car franchise in Dublin.

We heard oft-repeated explanation of how the banks have behaved unreasonably towards them, how they were working all of God's hours to make ends meet and how their story mirrors those of many regular people struggling to make ends meet.

We also heard how it was, to quote Jackie, "never about the money".

And yet certain awkward facts started to trickle out.

Firstly, they still seemed to be living confortably for a couple who had lost everything, or close to it.

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Not only that, but last year they quietly sold another of their homes, a mansion in Florida, for €3m, acquired courtesy of the very handsome salary that Bill was obviously paying himself during the good times.

So is that the end of this humble couple's property empire? Not a chance...

This week, Jackie has revealed that she is fighting off attempts to repossess a property owned by her called Killegy House, which overlooks the lakes of Killarney.

Lavin claims that it cannot be part of any claim by Bill's creditors, as she is the sole owner of the house, having bought it for a cool €760k in 2011 from Bill's company, Glencullen, a year before that company went into receivership.

In seeking to gain public sympathy for their plight, I guess Jackie and Bill like to portray themselves as "the new poor".

Which, in anyone else's language, means the "still stinking rich."

Irish Independent

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