Thursday 22 March 2018

Notes stashed in McFeely home 'printed in 2011'

Gardai believe the €200,000 in the D4 house belongs to the builder

SEARCH: Gardai outside the former home of Tom McFeely, where €200,000 cash was found hidden in a bathroom
SEARCH: Gardai outside the former home of Tom McFeely, where €200,000 cash was found hidden in a bathroom
Tom McFeely
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

THE €200,000 stash of cash discovered in Tom McFeely's former home in Dublin 4 was hidden there within the last two years, garda sources told the Sunday Independent.

Tests have confirmed that some of the hidden €50 notes were printed by the Central Bank as recently as 2011.

Gardia now suspect the cash was hidden in the rogue developer's house sometime between that date and June 2012, when his house was repossessed and bankruptcy loomed. Detectives are hopeful that further analysis by the Central Bank will trace not only the date and time the notes were issued, but also the financial institutions they were circulated to.

The notes were also being fingerprinted and detectives were also expected to interview any tradesmen who may have had access to the Ailesbury Road house before it was repossessed.

"At the moment, all the indications are that it was his," a source told the Sunday Independent. "The notes are all fifties and they are not that old. The Central Bank can give the exact time and date that the notes were created. They look reasonably fresh. They not are damaged."

Gardai have not ruled out further searches of McFeely's bolt-holes but will have to apply to the High Court first. He used to own a villa in Quinta de Lago in the Algarve in Portugal – and the builder went there to lick his wounds after he was declared bankrupt in July last year.

There was an interest in organising a search of the Algarve property, but the logistics were not straight forward."

"Irish authorities will have to liaise with Portuguese authorities," said a source.

McFeely's estranged wife owns a bed and breakfast in Rathgar, while he has access to another home in Blackrock. His Portugues villa, which was once worth €6m, is believed to be still on the market.

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was alerted to the cash mountain last weekend after a plumber who found wads of €50 notes hidden in the bathroom while renovating the exclusive Ailesbury Road home for its new owners.

According to gardai, the prevailing view among investigators is that McFeely simply forgot about the stash, which begged the question whether or not there were other secret consignments of cash elsewhere in the property.

Trained searchers were sent in to look behind panelling, skirting, floorboards and partitioned walls.

They also searched drains, pipes and garden furniture. A second stash was found in the bathroom of €60,000, also in wads of €50 notes wrapped in rubber bands.

According to garda sources, McFeely did not leave the house in a hurry and was given ample notice to vacate it.

His house was repossessed after he defaulted on his €9.5m mortgage, which was taken over by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), and McFeely, his wife and two teenage children were ordered to move out.

But the family was allowed remain until ane of the children had sat the Leaving Cert, and McFeely eventually agreed a leaving date with the city sheriff.

"He had plenty of notice and ample opportunity to take out the money," said one informed source.

Witnesses who inspected the house at the time said it was in "good condition" for a house of its age, but some fittings had been removed, including an expensive Aga oven in the basement kitchen.

McFeely was in the Provisional IRA before he became a property millionaire during the Celtic Tiger. He served jail time in Northern Ireland for attempting to murder police officers and for his part in a post office robbery during the Seventies.

He narrowly avoided a return to jail in the Republic when his negligent building practices forced more than 250 residents out of their homes in Priory Hall in Dublin two years ago. The complex in north Dublin was condemned as a fire trap. McFeely, who failed to make the building safe, successfully appealed a three-month prison sentence for contempt of court.

Almost 250 residents who bought apartments there – mostly young couples and families – were evacuated. Two years on, homeless residents still have to pay the mortgages on worthless properties. Fiachra Daly, a former resident, took his own life in July.

McFeely has not been contacted by the CAB and no one has claimed the money, which will remain under the control of the High Court until a legitimate owner has been identified.

Another of McFeely's apartment complexes, Ard Dealgan in Dundalk, Co Louth, was also declared a fire trap. However local authority officials intervened before the 80 apartments went on sale, preventing another Priory Hall situation.

Sunday Independent

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