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Thursday 23 November 2017

McCreevy keeps silent over €1.6m apartment loan

Michael Brennan Political Correspondent

EU COMMISSIONER Charlie McCreevy maintained his silence last night over his controversial €1.6m loan to buy an apartment at the K Club golf resort.

Mr McCreevy is due to step down as Internal Markets Commissioner this month and the new Irish representative, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, is due to take over as Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.

She faces a three-hour grilling today, when 51 MEPs of the EU Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy will evaluate the former justice minister's priorities.

Mr McCreevy has made no public comment since RTE's 'Prime Time Investigates' programme reported last month on how he obtained a loan from Irish Nationwide Building Society in September 2006.

The €1.6m loan was granted to Mr McCreevy and his wife Noeleen by then-Irish Nationwide chief executive Michael Fingleton, even though the building society's records only valued the apartment on the Ladycastle estate at the K Club at €1.5m and the society didn't provide 100pc mortgages at the time.

Labour Dublin MEP Proinsias De Rossa said he believed it would be in Mr McCreevy's interest domestically to make a statement on the loan.

But he said it was unlikely to raise any concern at EU level, given that he was on his way out from his position as European Commissioner.

A spokesman for Mr McCreevy could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

Mr McCreevy was named in the RTE programme as being one of several high-profile Fianna Fail politicians given huge mortgages from Irish Nationwide with minimum paperwork involved.

The K Club apartment is now worth around half the price Mr McCreevy paid for it.

Mr McCreevy will be entitled to generous pensions and allowances when he bows out of Brussels.

The former finance minister received a TD and ministerial pension of €125,000 last year -- on top of his €238,000 commissioner's salary.

He was paid an Oireachtas pension of €52,123 for his time as a Fianna Fail TD and a ministerial pension of €75,003 for serving as finance and enterprise ministers.

On leaving Brussels, Mr McCreevy will be entitled to a "transitional allowance" for three years.

The allowance, which aims to help commissioners with their "re-entry" into the non-EU world, is calculated as 50pc of Mr McCreevy's €238,919-a-year salary.

Irish Independent

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