I've had to emigrate just like everyone else, says Dunne
DEVELOPER Sean Dunne claims he was forced to move to America to earn a living. The owner of the controversial Ballsbridge D4 Hotels development site -- for which he paid €380m -- said he has been left with no choice but to emigrate with his wife Gayle.
Speaking to the Irish Independent in Dublin yesterday, Mr Dunne said: "Look it, I am over there doing what everyone is trying to do, make a living abroad.
"Unfortunately, I have to emigrate like other people."
Mr Dunne declined to elaborate on his business dealings across the Atlantic but said he returns home on a monthly basis.
Yesterday, he was meeting with staff at his D4 Hotels ahead of today's reopening of the Ballsbridge Inn following recent flood damage.
In jovial humour, the former developer joked that he was in need of financial assistance given the downturn in his business.
"Nama have taken everything off me; I'm in receivership, would you stop! Here give me a loan will ya!" he joked.
Immaculately turned out in a dark suit and pink tie, Mr Dunne was rushing between meetings ahead of today's re-opening.
Dozens of guests had to be booked into alternative hotels after the Ballsbridge Inn and Ballsbridge Towers Hotel were flooded by the River Dodder in October.
The event caused damage to carpets and a major clean-up operation was undertaken.
Mr Dunne was recently criticised in the High Court for "wasting" its time in relation to a legal action against a cleaning company for breach of contract.
Hollybrook (Brighton Road) Management Company Ltd had sued All First Property Management Company Ltd (in liquidation) and Gina Farrell Cleaning Services over fraud, negligence, misrepresentation, conspiracy and breach of confidence.
The High Court awarded damages of €22,518 to Hollybrook last month. The case centred on an allegation that Ms Farrell had overcharged for services between 2003 and 2006.
In her judgment, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said: "As regards the pursuit of the proceedings against Ms Farrell to a hearing. . . I think it is reasonable to infer the Mr Dunne has been the prime mover.
"It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Mr Dunne had from the start, and continues to have, an ulterior motive for funding these very costly proceedings against Ms Farrell."
However, addressing the case yesterday, Mr Dunne said: "(It is) nothing to do with me, I wasn't a party to it.
"As far as I know it's finished but genuinely I wasn't a party to it."
Last September, Mr Dunne was finally given permission by An Bord Pleanala to develop his D4 Hotels site with hundreds of apartments, a hotel and retail space although works are not expected to get under way for some time.
When he paid €380m for the seven-acre site in 2005, Mr Dunne set a record for the price paid to purchase land in Ireland.