Wednesday 21 February 2018

Bankrupt developer Tom McFeely dodges 3 month jail term over €24k debt

Tom McFeely, leaving court on a previous occasion.
Pic: Collins Courts
Tom McFeely, leaving court on a previous occasion. Pic: Collins Courts

THE threat of jail has been lifted from Priory Hally developer Tom McFeely after the former IRA hunger striker settled a €24,000 debt action.

Dublin District Court heard that the case against Mr McFeely, a bankrupt, could be struck out.

It is the second time in less than two years that Mr McFeely has avoided jail.

Last year he won his appeal to the Supreme Court against his three month prison sentence and €1m fine for being found in contempt of court.

Mr McFeely won appeal against the sentence that was imposed after he failed to repair fire safety defects at the Priory Hall housing complex in north Dublin.

The developer was also repeatedly in court because of a debt of more than €24,000 to personnel company MCR.

Mr McFeely, who tried but failed to avail of the UK's less stringent bankruptcy laws, was due to be cross examined about his finances next Tuesday.

He was also facing up to three months in prison for alleged failure to obey court orders to give a full account of his business affairs including properties and other assets

But the case was struck out after solicitor Peter Dempsey, for MCR, told Judge Mary Collins that “matter had been resolved between the parties”.

Mr Dempsey told Judge Collins that the case “wouldn’t be troubling the court” and could be struck out with consent from both sides.

It is not known if the Official Assignee, a court official who administers the estates of bankrupts, was informed of the settlement.

Funds cannot be distributed from Mr McFeely’s estate without the express authorisation of Official Assignee Chris Lehane.

The Irish Independent has learned that the action was settled after MCR received a bank draft, although it is not known whether the funds were sent by a third party.

Last month the Government announced that it is to pump €10m for the refurbishment of the condemned Priory Hall apartment complex.

Dublin City Council will oversee the refurbishment of the development to finally bring it up to standard.

A further €10m has also been earmarked for a separate scheme aimed at completing ghost estates in a bid to heal the scars of the economic collapse.

 Announcing the housing initiative measures, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin described the saga of Priory Hall as “a particular blot on the national psyche” and an example of all that was wrong under the last Government.

The initiatives were announced after a two-year dispute between owners of Priory Hall apartments, the Government and the banks.

The impasse ended after the owners accepted a pact to have their mortgages written down and transferred to new homes.

The deal was accelerated after a public outcry following the death, by suicide, of Priory Hall apartment owner Fiachra Daly.


Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

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