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Sunday 19 November 2017

Broadcaster will sell home to pay off €1.5m debt

Shane Hickey

BROADCASTER Vincent Browne has spoken of the personal difficulty he faces after being forced to sell his seaside family home to pay debts and set up a pension fund.

The journalist yesterday said he would love to stay in his home in Dalkey, south Co Dublin forever but must put it on the market to settle a €1.5m debt and provide for his future.

'Atlanta', the six-bedroom house where Browne and his wife raised their family, is on the market for €3.25m.

The coastal property is in one of the wealthiest parts of the country, home to high-profile figures from the legal, entertainment and financial worlds.

Browne and his wife Jean initially bought the property for IR£94,000 (€119,000). However, they now have to sell the Victorian house to settle debts that accumulated through the broadcaster's involvement with 'Village' magazine, which he started in 2004. It ceased production in August 2008. The magazine was taken over by Michael Smith.

Browne also revealed yesterday that his pension fund had plummeted in value. "I have managed to amass a huge debt through 'Village' and don't have a pension, so I have to pay off the debt and put something towards a pension.

"I did have a pension at one stage but its value is almost zero because it is one of the pensions that relied on the stock market."

Difficult

The TV3 presenter said it would be particularly difficult parting with the house, which has a clear view of Dalkey Island from its rear rooms and an extensive garden.

"I hate leaving it," he said. "We love the house. The idea of buying an investment property at the time never crossed anybody's mind. I suppose if I didn't have the house, I wouldn't be in the financial difficulty I am in but it has to be sold."

However, Browne said he would not have to sell the house straight away and it may take a number of years.

"I don't need to sell right now because I have a contract with TV3, but it has to sell," he said on 2FM.

The house is on Coliemore Road, a short distance from other high-profile Dalkey residents such as the Edge, Maeve Binchy and Neil Jordan.

'Atlanta' has direct access to the sea, one of only 80 houses in Dublin with the feature, according to Vincent Finnegan Auctioneers, which is handling the sale. This will add considerably to the value of the property, which has four reception rooms.

Despite the downturn, nearby properties are also listed for multimillion euro sale prices. 'Waterside', on the same road, which is not yet completed, is selling for €1m. Four-bedroom Khyber Lodge on nearby Nerano Road is listed at €2.45m.

"I think I'm in a very privileged position vis-a-vis people who have lost their jobs and are in negative equity. If I struggle with a pension, it is pretty small fry compared to what people are going through."

Irish Independent

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