Sunday 27 May 2018

James Fitzsimons: Taxpayers could foot bill for Dr Debt-style schemes

The real crime is that risky investments were allowed to spiral out of control, writes James Fitzsimons

Last week James Reilly, the Minister for Health, got himself into hot water when his name was published in Stubbs Gazette for unpaid debts. He was part of a syndicate that invested in a nursing home to get tax relief.

He put up £60,000 of his own money (about €76,000). There were 13 members in the syndicate and they raised about €2.25m to set up a nursing home. Apart from what they put in themselves, they borrowed €1.9m from Bank of Ireland.

Five of the original investors, including Dr Reilly, agreed from the start to buy out the others. When they failed to pay they were taken to court, where they were ordered to pay up. With nothing paid, James Reilly's name appeared in Stubbs Gazette.

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