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Lochlann Quinn sells office block to Vernon's Green REIT


Lochlann Quinn

Lochlann Quinn

Lochlann Quinn

Dublin Mayor Oisin Quinn's multimillionaire father Lochlann Quinn handled the €6m-plus sale of a valuable Dublin office block owned by him and his siblings to a property fund.

The 85-93 Mount Street property occupied on a lucrative long lease by the Revenue Commissioners was sold to Green REIT, the fund run by property investor Stephen Vernon.

Mr Quinn failed in a recent attempt in the High Court to overturn the Standards In Public Office (SIPO) body finding that he had inadvertently committed minor breaches of ethics legislation following complaints made to the commission that then Cllr Quinn, as a joint owner of 85/93 Mount Street, should not have participated in two council meetings that voted on building heights.

When contacted on Friday Oisin Quinn said that the sale "does not have the slightest thing to do with" the SIPO investigation. "It will have been based purely on commercial considerations that my father would have made," he said.

Quinn, had a one-sixth stake in the property.

In its recent results announcement, Green REIT said it had paid €6.35m to acquire the property late last year. At the peak of the market, the 49,000 sq ft block would have been worth many multiples of that.

This recorded sale price suggests that Quinn and his siblings each received a €1m windfall on the transaction.

"I genuinely cannot confirm the sale price, but I'm sure you're correct," said Mr Quinn.

"The way the partnership operates means there are usually costs that get discharged first, so this building is probably being sold at a loss (it was bought back in 2001)."

The Revenue Commissioners' long lease on the block runs to 2016 and gives an annual rent of €1.75m.

Quinn said he was not involved in the decision to sell the block, and could not say why his father had made the decision to sell it at a time when commercial property asset values were relatively low.

Lochlann Quinn, the chairman of ESB, former AIB and Glen Dimplex director, did not respond to email contact from the Sunday Independent last week.

Mr Quinn had claimed he did not have a conflict of interest when voting on whether to increase the maximum heights for buildings in Dublin. He and Dublin City Council argued in the High Court to overturn the investigation's finding on the grounds that it was irrational and unreasonable.

He argued that there was no evidence that the Mount Street building was likely to benefit from any increase in value as a result of a vote on maximum heights.

SIPO had found that Mr Quinn's interest in the Mount Street building "could not be regarded as so remote or insignificant that it could not be reasonably regarded as unlikely to influence" him in the performance of his functions as a Dublin City councillor.

Justice John Hedigan ruled that the SIPO finding was eminently reasonable, fair and involved a rational appraisal of the perception of the matter based on an agreed factual background.

However, he said that the ethics breach was minor and inadvertent.

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