Tuesday 20 February 2018

Sale of Minister John Perry's Sligo properties is put on hold

John Perry's properties in Ballymote, Sligo. Photo Brian Farrell.
John Perry's properties in Ballymote, Sligo. Photo Brian Farrell.
Junior minister John Perry

Roisin Burke

JUST one of the several properties secured by Small Business Minister John Perry's Danske Bank loan are close to being sold to pay down a €2.5m debt.

Two other properties, a supermarket and restaurant in the minister's powerbase at Ballymote, Co Sligo, have been withdrawn from the market, the estate agent handling the sale confirmed.

Sale has been agreed on a derelict cottage and 10 acres of land at Ballybrennan, Ballymote, for around €85,000.

A Costcutters supermarket on Teeling Street was for sale for €300,000 while the adjacent Corran Express Buffet restaurant and takeaway was on the market for €110,000. Both sales have been withdrawn from the market and the 'for sale' signs removed. There is no date for their being put back on the market.

The two sales have been postponed due to a legal title issue related to adjacent property owned by the minister's sister, the Sunday Independent has learned. Title for a carpark area between the properties is owned by his sister Catherine, it is understood.

Negotiations to resolve the issue are ongoing.

Mr Perry's sister did not respond to attempts to contact her on Friday.

When approached last week regarding the sale of his assets and repayment of debt, Mr Perry said: "I don't make any comment. I don't comment on any of that, it's a private matter, there's a settlement."

Mr Perry has employed renowned Hollywood celebrity reputation lawyer Paul Tweed to represent him.

Mr Tweed contacted the Sunday Independent on Mr Perry's behalf on Friday to confirm that Mr Perry will be making no further comment on the matter.

Asked how Mr Perry could afford to hire a celebrity lawyer, Mr Tweed said he was "quite cheap actually".

The minister owns substantial amounts of property around Ballymote, according to the Oireachtas register of members' interests, including a funeral home, apartment, land and offices in Ballymote and Sligo. Other property at Clooncose, Co Sligo, is for sale.

Mortgage documents show he borrowed from Danske Bank, EBS and Irish Life & Permanent against a number of properties during the boom. Combined borrowings owed to Danske and other banks have been close to €5m, it is understood.

Mr Perry was given a new loan by State-owned AIB last year registered over one of his land assets in Stonepark, Ballymote, on June 13, 2012.

Earlier this year, the minister and his wife consented to judgement for €2.47m against them in the Commercial Court in Dublin.

Subsequently, Mr Perry confirmed that he and his wife had reached "an agreement with Danske Bank" and that the details of that agreement were confidential. He added that all his tax affairs have been and remain up to date.

Irish Independent

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