Saturday 25 May 2019

The debt that led to death - Quirke's €1m losses in a tale 'more of money than love'

Pat Quirke. Photo: Collins
Pat Quirke. Photo: Collins
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

PAT QUIRKE racked up losses of more than €1m gambling on stocks and shares and ploughing money into property investments in eastern Europe, a former friend has claimed.

Quirke, who received legal aid to cover the costs of his trial, told gardai he owned 50 acres, leased or rented 110 acres (including the 63 acres owned by the Lowrys), and owned 120 cattle.

He was also an enthusiastic investor and gambler on contracts for difference (CFDs).

His former friend told the Sunday Independent that Quirke’s investments and losses included:

  • €70,000 in a €5.5m commercial property fund in Warsaw. He lost one-third of his investment, according to the friend — more than €23,000.
  • €140,000 in a €21m Warsaw property fund that required a minimum investment of €100,000. According to his former friend, he will get 6pc back on that investment.
  •  €100,000 in another Warsaw scheme which was under discussion at an investor meeting, attended by Quirke, on the night before Bobby Ryan was murdered. Quirke lost €50,000 on that investment.

He also invested around €840,000 in a contracts for difference gamble on C&C shares, which tumbled by 33pc, according to his former friend. He claimed Quirke lost close to €300,000.

A €225,000 investment in a commercial property in Lithuania went bust, leaving Quirke with no return.

Despite these losses, Quirke’s investments in the Irish property market were more successful, with two of three properties he bought in Tipperary turning around a profit.

Quirke set up a farm company in 2014, with him and Imelda as directors. Breasha Farms Ltd had €322,000 in assets in 2017 and listed directors’ transactions in the name of Pat Quirke of €204,000, according to the company accounts.

The accounts also reported a healthy €150,000 cash in the bank.

The lands at Breanshamore are registered to Pat and Imelda Quirke and land registry records show Pepper Finance has a charge over the property.

The financial pressure on Quirke was cited in his trial, and gardai suspected the stresses were a factor in his obsessive urge to control Mary Lowry and sabotage her relationship with Bobby Ryan.

Quirke said he “managed” Mary Lowry’s late husband Martin’s investments, which included shares, CFDs, or contracts for difference, and property worth about €200,000. He told gardai he advised her to buy bank shares and shares in Ryanair.

He urged her to put up the €80,000 capital for a CFD gamble which generated €40,000 profit for him, without having to part with a cent, and he effectively leased her farm for €1,600 a year.

She changed her will to leave him €100,000 for looking after her children if she died. Gardai accused him of taking her “to the cleaners”.

Quirke’s trial was told this was a tale of love and money. According to his former friend, it was more money than love: maintaining control over Mary Lowry’s assets was “essential” to Quirke, he said.

Sunday Independent

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