Monday 26 August 2019

How killer aimed to be investment guru for other farmers

Speech: Pat Quirke gave investment advice at a Positive Farmers’ conference in 2005
Speech: Pat Quirke gave investment advice at a Positive Farmers’ conference in 2005
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Pat Quirke gave investment advice to other farmers, but it emerged during his trial he complained to his doctor of being under financial stress.

The Irish Independent has learned Quirke once described his farm as the engine that drove off-farm investment and revealed he put money in residential and commercial property and shares.

His finances, including a stock market gamble he and his former lover Mary Lowry were involved in, were scrutinised by gardaí after the body of Ms Lowry's boyfriend Bobby Ryan was found in 2013.

Years earlier, Quirke dispensed investment advice at a Positive Farmers' conference.

Speaking at the conference in Limerick in 2005, he revealed how he and his wife Imelda remortgaged their home on an interest-only basis and bought three houses.

He also revealed they offered a portion of their farm against more borrowings to fund "a Polish investment", which was expected to return a lump sum a decade later.

He advised attendees to get a clear measure of their business and assets before starting out on an investment and know how much free cash is available to them on a regular basis. He warned farmers seeking loans that if they were giving their land as security, they must insist that it carries a realistic market value.

Quirke and his wife ran their farm as a limited company called Breansha Farms Ltd. Its most recent accounts, for 2017, showed it had more than €150,000 cash in hand or in the bank.

During his trial, it emerged Quirke disclosed his affair with Mary Lowry to his GP in 2010. Dr Ivor Hanrahan also said Quirke was having difficulty sleeping, had work-related and financial stress. The trial heard during an interview with gardaí, Quirke disclosed financial involvement with Ms Lowry amounting to tens of thousands of euro.

Quirke denied to gardaí he was trying to take Ms Lowry "to the cleaners" by demanding €20,000 from her.

At one point Quirke needed to repay a bank loan and told Ms Lowry he would have to sell shares at a loss. He told gardaí she gave him €20,000 and told him she didn't need it back until her children started going to college. They did not have an agreement on interest.

He also told gardaí Ms Lowry gave him €80,000 to invest in contracts for difference.

He said they made €40,000 each over a period of 18 months. Quirke said he was "managing" Ms Lowry's investment and denied taking advantage of her.

Irish Independent

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