Saturday 15 December 2018

Carpet king Des leaves €13m in will and cash for 'Saint Matt'

Carpets and Catholicism: Des Kelly got ‘closer to God’. Photo: Mark Condren
Carpets and Catholicism: Des Kelly got ‘closer to God’. Photo: Mark Condren
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Carpet king Des Kelly left a gross estate of more than €13m in his will which included charitable bequests to two Dublin homeless shelters and €71,425 for the canonisation of Matt Talbot.

The father of eight, who died on June 21, 2016, aged 75, came from Dublin's north inner city and was a colourful figure in the business community through his companies Des Kelly Carpets and Des Kelly Interiors.

According to documents lodged in the Probate Office in Dublin last week, the businessman, who lived in Dunboyne, Co Meath, left a gross estate of €13,965,887. However, the net value of the estate was €10,237,490 - after €3.7m was deducted by the Revenue Commissioners.

Born in Summerhill, Dublin, in 1941, he started dealing in secondhand carpets in the 1960s, building up Des Kelly Carpets and Des Kelly Interiors, which operated showrooms around the city and employed more than 100 staff.

Two of his brothers, Eamon and Matt, were also involved in the carpet business but their company collapsed with debts of €1.8m in 1981. Matt Kelly, who had a substantial property portfolio in central Dublin, was targeted in 2002 with a bill of €3.6m by the Criminal Assets Bureau, which he settled.

Eamon Kelly, was a major figure in Dublin's underworld and was shot dead in December 2012 shortly after his 65th birthday, in a feud linked to the 'Real IRA'.

Des Kelly took a different path in life, concentrating on his business and becoming an evangelical Catholic.

In an interview with Spirit FM he told how joining the Catholic organisation the Legion of Mary in 1999 changed his life and led to him working in homeless centres in the city run by the organisation.

"My faith has escalated since I joined the Legion, I got closer to God, I realised how the other side lives. I am really satisfied now, more than I ever was in life. It's just a great place to be and you are giving something back," he said.

Because of his beliefs, he did not open his stores on Sunday, saying the 'Lord's Day' should be sacrosanct.

Mr Kelly was also a passionate supporter of Bohemians soccer club in Phibsboro and the club's main sponsor.

He left €71,425 each to the Morning Star Hostel and the Regina Coeli Hostel for the homeless in Dublin. He left the same amounts to the Mother Village in Medjugorje, a place of pilgrimage in Bosnia. He left similar sums to Fr Aidan Crowley, Fr Aidan Carroll and to Fr Brian Lawless for the canonisation of Matt Talbot, the Dublin labourer who died in 1925 and was revered for his piety and faith. He also left a bequest of €71,425 to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Dublin.

Mr Kelly left his 50pc shareholding in Des Kelly Interiors in various denominations to his sons Gregory, Gerando and Orlando, and daughter Youlanda. He specified that the shares were not to be disposed of or sold for 10 years. He left his shares in Des Kelly Carpets to his sons Matthew and Desmond and daughters Gillian and Denise.

An additional 15pc of the business was left to his grandchildren and the residue of his estate is to be divided equally among his children. When his wife Youlanda died in October 2013, she left €4.3m.

Sunday Independent

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