Wednesday 24 January 2018

The hard worker who lost it all in the property crash

Sarah Newman and DJ Carey Photo: Brian McEvoy
Sarah Newman and DJ Carey Photo: Brian McEvoy
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Having left school at the age of 16 in Colchester, Essex, Sarah Newman would eventually go on to become one of the most high profile - and at one point, richest - female entrepreneurs in Ireland.

She has fond memories of the town where she grew up, and would visit Williams and Griffin (a popular department store on Colchester's High Street), where her grandmother worked in the Wedgwood department.

The work ethic rubbed off. She said she always had a job and always wanted to work for herself.

"When I watched programmes like 'Dynasty' and 'Dallas' I remember thinking I wanted the big house, pool, fast cars and planes. I even wanted the big shoulder pads!"

As well as the wealth, she would eventually even get the drama.

She worked in the hotel business in London, becoming a senior negotiator of hotel rooms for a chain based there. After marrying Irishman Patrick O'Donoghue and having two children with him, they moved to Ireland in 1994.

She founded Needahotel.com in 1995, from a one-bedroom apartment in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

The couple split in 2000 and Needahotel.com was sold in 2006 to Cendant Hotels for up to €60m.

The sale included an upfront €30m in cash and the ability to earn the other €30m if the business met certain targets.

She later met Kilkenny hurling star DJ Carey and the pair borrowed to buy property worldwide, losing out in the crash.

Irish Independent

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