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Sunday 18 August 2019

Killer Pat Quirke loses €132k on property scheme

FORTUNES: Killer Pat Quirke was jailed for life in in May. Picture: Steve Humphreys
FORTUNES: Killer Pat Quirke was jailed for life in in May. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Pat Quirke, the Tipperary farmer who is being sued by the children of the man he murdered, is believed to have been hit with a €132,000 loss on one of his disastrous Polish property investments.

Quirke was one of a syndicate of Irish farmers who invested in a €21m office block in Warsaw during the boom years. Quirke is believed to have invested €140,000, according to a source familiar with the scheme. Investors - including Quirke - got a return of 6pc of their investment last month, which works out at €8,400.

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The scheme was one of several overseas commercial property investments promoted within the Irish farming community at the time.

The dairy farmer's finances are likely to come under fresh scrutiny now because of a legal action launched by Bobby Ryan's two children last week. Robert Ryan Junior and his sister, Michelle, are suing the dairy farmer over their father's unlawful killing.

In a victim impact statement following the trial, Michelle Ryan said her family's lives had been "completely destroyed beyond repair" because of the trauma of how their father was "brutally" taken from them.

The 50-year-old dairy farmer was convicted in May of murdering Bobby Ryan (52) after a 15-week trial, the longest Irish legal history. The jury heard that Quirke had an affair with his wife's widowed sister-in-law, Mary Lowry, and was jealous when it ended and she began seeing Bobby Ryan. He was under financial stress in the months before he attacked the part-time DJ known as 'Mr Moonlight' and gardai suggested he had a financial interest in maintaining a relationship with Mary Lowry.

Quirke's finances have suffered mixed fortunes since he murdered Bobby Ryan in 2011. A vulture fund took over Quirke's loans in January this year, according to land registry records. The charges on three folios registered in the name of Pat Quirke and his wife Imelda were transferred from the former Bank of Scotland Ireland to Pepper Finance in January this year, the records show.

However, the latest accounts for the company he set up to run his farm suggest a healthy turnover. Breansha Farm's latest accounts show it had total net assets of €414,576 at the end of last year including €239,767 in "cash at bank and in hand" - up from around €150,000 on the previous year. The company owed €176,156 to its directors, Pat and Imelda Quirke, and employed three people, paying wages and salaries of €50,492 in 2018.

Quirke resigned as a director of Breansha Farms three weeks after he was convicted of murder. His son, Liam, has replaced him as director, and his wife, Imelda, as company secretary.

Quirke's venture into overseas property has proved less successful, according to informed sources. He invested millions in commercial property in Poland; some of the schemes are in dispute and a number of Irish farmers who invested claim they have suffered significant losses.

A source familiar with the scheme said Quirke lost a third of a €70,000 investment in a €5.5m commercial property fund in Warsaw; he invested €100,000 in another Warsaw scheme and got a return of €50,000. The source said he also lost more than €1m gambling on stocks and shares, including €840,000 in a contracts-for-difference (CFD) gamble on C&C shares, which tumbled by 33pc, according to one investor, and €400,000 on shares in Riverdeep.

During his trial, it emerged that Quirke complained to a doctor of his financial concerns, and his sleepless nights in the months before he murdered Bobby Ryan. The court heard evidence of the financial demands he put on Mary Lowry, and gardai accused him of taking her to the cleaners.

He asked the widow for a €20,000 loan which she let him keep. He leased her farm of more than 60 acres for €1,600 a year. He urged her to change her will to leave him €100,000 for taking in her children if she died. Quirke told gardai he "managed" Mary Lowry's late husband's investments, which included shares, CFDs, and property worth about €200,000. He urged her to put up the €80,000 capital for a CFD gamble which generated €80,000 profit, of which he took half.

Quirke was granted legal aid for his trial. He told gardai he owned 50 acres, leased or rented 110 acres and owned 120 cattle. He is appealing his conviction

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