Monday 17 June 2019

McNamara firm repays financing from alternative lender Castlehaven

Rebuilding: Bernard McNamara has re-established himself as a developer in Ireland after emerging from bankruptcy in the UK in 2014. Photo: Collins
Rebuilding: Bernard McNamara has re-established himself as a developer in Ireland after emerging from bankruptcy in the UK in 2014. Photo: Collins
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A company owned by boomtime builder Bernard McNamara has repaid finance that it had secured from Dublin-based alternative property lender Castlehaven Finance.

The facility had been secured against land at Donabate in north Dublin where Mr McNamara's Roxtip firm has built about 30 homes.

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Mr McNamara has been re-establishing himself as a developer in Ireland after emerging from bankruptcy in the UK in 2014. He had been declared bankrupt there in 2012 with debts of €1.2bn.

Castlehaven was founded in 2014 by former AIB and Anglo Irish Bank executive Clark McCann.

Castlehaven has provided tens of millions of euro in finance to a number of small-scale projects around Dublin, such as Blackberry Hill in Carrickmines, which was developed by Northern Ireland businessmen Sean and Gerald McGreevy.

Castlehaven also financed the development of five €1m-plus homes in Sutton, north Dublin, by Wexford-based A-Therm Construction.

The residential development in Donabate being undertaken by Mr McNamara marked his first such project in Ireland since the downturn.

Roxtip also has financing from Isle of Man-based Eclipse International, which acted as a security trustee for funding advanced to Mr McNamara's company.

Since returning to the building sector, Mr McNamara has also provided project management services to clients including businessmen Denis O'Brien and Michael Smurfit.

In April, a company linked to Mr McNamara also secured permission for a €40m-plus development on the site of the well-known Swiss Cottage pub in Santry, north Dublin.

The plans for 110 build-to-rent units are being backed by a company controlled by billionaire Paul Coulson, CEO of packaging giant Ardagh.

A company called Cinamol secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the development in Santry. It made the original application for the scheme at the site on behalf of MB McNamara Construction. That firm is controlled by Mr McNamara and his family.

The plans for the site in Santry were opposed by a number of locals. Among the objectors was Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall.

Mr McNamara was involved in the group that paid €412m for the Irish Glass bottle site in Dublin's Ringsend in 2006. The site was owned by a company controlled by Mr Coulson.

Roxtip warned at least one local resident in Donabate in 2017 that the company would sell the houses it was developing there to a social housing entity unless the person withdrew a planning objection.

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