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Bertie's St Luke's headquarters sold for €760,000

Fianna Fáil's National Executive has approved the sale of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's headquarters, St Luke's in Drumcondra, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The sale, believed to be for €760,000, was approved at a meeting of the party's executive last night.

Mr Ahern's former stronghold had been put up for sale by Fianna Fáil with an asking price of €595,000 but comfortably exceeded that by €165,000.

"Yes, we agreed the sale of 161 Lower Drumcondra Road at our meeting," said one senior source.

The Drumcondra offices was the former Taoiseach's headquarters for most of his political career and formed a key part of the Mahon Tribunals' investigations into planning matters and payments.

All aspects of the sale are being handled by Lisney Estate Agents.

The online ad for the property, which is 1,900 square foot in size, set the price of €595,000 and said the premises is a "prominent detached property" and "suitable for a variety of uses".

The building was bought by a trust of Mr Ahern's closest associates, dubbed the 'Drumcondra mafia', in January 1988 for IR£56,000 (€71,000) and turned into a constituency office, with an apartment overhead where Mr Ahern occasionally lived.

It has been mired in much controversy with Mr Ahern admitting during questioning at the Mahon Tribunal that he kept large amounts of cash in it at a time when he did not hold a bank account.

The trust, who bought the property, had initially attempted to resist efforts to hand over the house to Fianna Fáil before releasing ownership in 2012.

Last year, the party had said it had not immediate plans to sell the property.

However it is understood the property, at the junction of Botanic Avenue, attracted a lot of interest.

St Luke's comes with off-street car parking, a private garden to the rear, as well as a kitchen area, bathrooms and cloakroom.

Shortly after it went on sale earlier this year, estate agents Lisney said there had been "good interest" in the property.

Most prospective buyers who viewed the property were considering using it as office accommodation.

St Luke's was the hub of Ahern's power in Dublin Central and, for his 11 years as Taoiseach and was the Irish equivalent of No 10 Downing Street as it played host to various dignitaries and important talks on industrial relations and the Northern Ireland peace process.

It was also from his stronghold at St Luke's that Ahern planned three back-to-back election victories.

Irish Independent