Tuesday 23 July 2019

Housing charity to pay €3m for Conor McGregor's social housing development

DEAL: Conor McGregor posted a photo of himself at the North Dublin development on his Instagram account
DEAL: Conor McGregor posted a photo of himself at the North Dublin development on his Instagram account
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

A housing charity is set to pay more than €3m for a development fronted by mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

Mr McGregor took to social media last month to reveal his involvement in a social housing project in North Dublin which he said was being built for "families that currently reside in hotels around the capital".

This newspaper has now learned the eight houses were offered by development company Sycamore Residential Homes, which is linked to the controversial UFC fighter, to Tuath Housing for around €420,000 each in January 2018. Two sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed the figures involved.

It is understood when Sycamore approached Tuath Housing with the offer, the company made no mention of Mr McGregor's involvement in the project.

After receiving the offer from Sycamore, Tuath contacted Dublin City Council to establish whether social housing units were needed in the Santry area. The council confirmed housing was required. In June last year, Tuath then submitted an application to the Department of Housing seeking funding for the houses.

The Department approved funding for the project through the Capital Advance Leasing Facility which allows approved housing bodies apply for up to 30pc of the costs of a development. The funding was approved last August.

Approved housing bodies can also apply to the Housing Finance Agency for additional funding.

In a statement, Tuath said they are currently in discussions with Sycamore Homes to acquire eight houses in Santry, Dublin.

"The purchase of the properties is supported by Dublin City Council.

"The properties will be acquired using debt finance," the charity said.

"The houses will be let to families from Dublin City Council's housing waiting list at a social rent. Tuath welcomes the opportunity to provide these high-quality new homes," it added.

When first contacted by Sycamore, Tuath carried out a standard due diligence check on the company but it did not reveal any link to Mr McGregor.

However, company records show one of the directors of Sycamore Residential Homes, Alan Geraghty, is involved in four of the fighter's other businesses including McGregor Sports and Entertainment Limited, Congregor Investments Limited, the Maclife Limited and Maclifefast Limited.

Mr Geraghty and fellow Sycamore director Paul Monaghan run financial services firm G Squared Capital Partners. Mr Geraghty and Mr Monaghan did not respond to requests for comment.

Company records also show a mortgage from Sancus Ireland Limited registered to Sycamore.

Sancus is a financing firm with offices in the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.

Sancus chief executive Andrew Whelan said the company had "no comment" to make when contacted.

Mr McGregor's publicist also did not respond to requests for comment.

Sunday Independent

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