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Disabled first time buyer uses crash compensation to buy block of Dublin flats at auction

A disabled first-time buyer used his compensation pay-out from a motorbike crash to snap up a block of flats at Ireland's latest distressed property auction.

David Glennan bought the red-brick period property on Rathgar's Waverley Terrace in Dublin 6 for €459,000 for a monthly income.

The site, already divided into eight residential units which rent for €50,000 a year, had a reserve of €380,000.

"It's some building, in a beautiful fantastic location. To get it for under half a million was unreal," he said.

"It's an income for me now."

The 31-year-old former truck driver is paralysed in his left arm after the nerves in his spine were torn out in a crash.

He said the rent will be his income after his disability allowance stopped when he got the confidential settlement in July - exactly four years after his accident in Warwick in the UK.

"It was a car v a motorbike, I was on a motorbike and I lost," said Mr Glennan, who is originally from Naas but lives in Portarlington.

"I was due to have another operation in August, but I'm still waiting. It's a very slow recovery from it."

There was standing room only in the Shelbourne Hotel as more than 1,100 eager buyers packed into the sales room.

But the frenzy surrounding the two previous fire-sale auctions, co-hosted by Allsop and Space, was gone.

Also missing was a crowd-puller, like the much sought-after house on Dublin's leafy Ailesbury Road which sold for €2.3m in July.

Stephen McCarthy, managing director of Space property consultants, said he was glad fewer spectators showed up.

"The first two auctions were almost like a day out, it was an event, everybody in our business wanted to come and see would it work," he said.

"So now it's very business-like, it's commerce. People are genuinely here to do business."

David Smith and girlfriend Lyndsey Crowley bought a four-bedroomed semi-detached house in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, for €79,000.

"We had offers in on other houses and they all fell through between the banks and the paperwork," said 27-year-old Mr Smith, who is also on disability allowance after a motorbike crash.

"I don't think you get better value here, it's just quicker."

Just 56 properties that went under the hammer sold for well above reserve prices - but were still far below the sums fetched at the peak of the boom.

They included retail units, a garage, and rental properties, with the highest sale of €1.15m paid for four commercial units and 14 self-contained apartments in Stoneybatter, Dublin 7.

Seven lots were withdrawn.

But the auction of three of the properties sparked protests outside the Shelbourne Hotel.

David Hall from New Beginnings, which gives advice to struggling homeowners in arrears, maintained the original owners were hounded until they handed their keys back to mortgage lenders when they could no longer keep up repayments.

"All that's there is lot numbers and photographs, there's no details about the families involved," he said.

"These people have been though pain and torture.

"In one instance there's a family involved with a number of children involved.

"All it is is money, they didn't kill anyone or hurt anyone."

Lot 8, a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Clara, Co Offaly, fetched €72,000; while Lot 12, a four-bedroom house on 4.5 acres in Co Galway, went for €164,000.

The final property, Lot 42, was a derelict detached building in Gorey, Co Wexford. It sold for its reserve of €30,000.

Mr McCarthy said he was sympathetic but defended the sale.

"At the end of the day our responsibility is to get the maximum return for the borrower," he said.

"People forget the difference between what we sell it for and the outstanding debt is what they will be pursued for.

"They have every right to protest but I think they are barking up the wrong tree.

"I think this is about more a political question than about auctioneers selling properties."