Saturday 24 March 2018

Wife of billionaire tycoon JP snaps up €10m trophy home - and it's mortgage-free

Noreen McManus and her husband JP celebrate a win at Leopardstown
Noreen McManus and her husband JP celebrate a win at Leopardstown
The stunning house on one of Dublin's most celebrated streets, Ailesbury Road, Ballsbridge, bought by Noreen McManus and the former home of Bernard McNamara
One of the €10m property's five reception rooms
Mr McNamara (on left) and Mr McManus pictured together at an event back in 2007
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

THE wife of businessman JP McManus has a new €10m home on Dublin's Ailesbury Road - and it's mortgage-free to boot.

The house, on one of the city's most famous roads, was previously owned by property developer Bernard McNamara, who admitted in 2009 that he was effectively broke.

Noreen McManus's new home comes complete with a swimming pool and home cinema. It went on sale eight months ago for €12.5m but is believed to have been sold for closer to €10m.

The businessman's wife was listed as the new owner on November 17. A Registry of Deeds office search showed that no "charge" has been listed against the property, meaning it is likely that it was purchased outright.

Yesterday an official of the office said that if there is a mortgage on a property it is generally registered by the lending institution at the same time as the new owner is listed.

It's understood that the proceeds of the sale will be used to pay off some of Mr McNamara's bank creditors.

The house was sold by auctioneer Simon Ensor of Sherry FitzGerald. He was not available to comment last night.

Mr McManus, who is resident in Switzerland, spends most of his time in Limerick at Martinstown Stud when he is in the country. He is one of Ireland's wealthiest businessmen and is one of the few domestic buyers able to buy a property with such a large price tag.

When it sold in November, Sherry FitzGerald said it was "very satisfied with the outcome" and it is understood the McManuses were just one of the interested buyers.

The house has five reception rooms and an indoor swimming pool which can be transformed into a dance floor.

Two mews houses nearby are also being sold by Mr McNamara, with NAMA the main creditor.

Mr McNamara has total debts of almost €1.5bn and his business interests in Ireland are now negligible, although his wife Moira still owns the Tara Towers hotel in Booterstown, south Dublin.

Mr McNamara hit the headlines in 2009 when he said he was effectively broke.

One of the major causes of his financial setbacks was a legal action taken against him by a group of private investors involved in the Irish Glass Bottle site.

An even bigger blow to Mr McNamara occurred two years ago when his construction company, Michael McNamara, was put into receivership.

The former Fianna Fail councillor is now believed to be studying business opportunities in the Middle East.

Both Mr McManus and Mr McNamara took part at the Ireland Funds Invitational at the prestigious Doonbeg golf course in Clare in September 2007. During the same year, the two men gave generously to various charities and third level institutions.

Both men were listed among the donors to St James Hospital -- a teaching hospital of Trinity College, Dublin.

University of Limerick (UL) has also benefited greatly from the philanthropy of Mr McManus, while Mr McNamara hosted a fundraising dinner for UL's Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin which he owned at the time as part of a consortium.

Mr McManus and fellow horse owner JP Magnier were this week included in an annual wealth list in Switzerland.

Both are believed to be worth between €800m and €1.2bn according to 'Bilanz' magazine.

Irish Independent

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