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Dragon Sean's breathing fire in the wrong direction over getting burned by the big bad property crash

An honest day's work for an honest day's pay is a fair and reasonable expectation.

There are hundreds of contractors who have worked on property developments around the country, but have not been paid.

Kitchen fitters, plumbers and electricians have been left out of pocket after the sector's spectacular collapse.

Dragon's Den panellist Sean Gallagher says he's owed €180,000 by one developer. The property he worked on is being sold off at rock bottom prices by a receiver and Sean is urging buyers not to snap up the bargains, saying it's 'tantamount to buying stolen property'.


It's difficult not to have sympathy for anyone who has been burnt by the property crash, but in this instance, the Dragon is breathing his fire in the wrong direction.

After years of being asked to pay way over the odds for shoebox apartments in fields outside of Dublin, finally, potential home owners can reasonably afford to get a place of their own.

Sean Gallagher is justifiably feeling hard done by and wants vengeance and justice, but here's some news for you Sean; you are not the only one.


Conservative estimates suggest that one third of Irish mortgage holders are in negative equity.

That means that when your new neighbour moves in next door, you have smile and welcome them in the full knowledge that they may have paid around 50pc less for the same house as you.

Sean Gallagher wants his fellow sub-contractors to think about protesting as the new home owners move into the Dublin properties that he worked on and didn't get paid for.

All of us in negative equity might think about doing the same. It would be as effective as the dirty film protest in that episode of Father Ted.

Our placards could only read 'Down With This Sort of Thing', because there is no one tangible person or thing to argue against.

When I interviewed Sean Gallagher on Newstalk this week, his anger was palpable -- he has been told by the receiver of the Carrickmines apartments in Dublin that he will not get his money back, regardless of whether they are sold or not.

This means that calling for people not to buy them is a pointless exercise. He is not going to get paid and that is that.

Those who want to live in the properties might as well avail of the low prices. What is the future for the buildings if they are not inhabited?

Just because Sean Gallagher didn't get paid, should we allow the apartments to lie empty?

Should we pull them down?

There is no available option that would see sub-contractors getting anything back, apart from some short-lived satisfaction. The truth of the matter is, there is almost no one who is making any money whatsoever from the fire sale of Celtic Tiger property. The developer has gone wallop and the bank is in the hands of the State; the selling prices are so low that the taxpayer will be lucky to get back 30pc of the money given to the developer to buy the land and build the homes in the first place.


The only person who has come out of this well is the farmer who sold the land a few years back and who, if he or she has any sense, may still have a large stash of money in the bank.

It is entirely understandable to see why Sean Gallagher and all unpaid contractors are seething with rage. To carry out work and then not see a penny for it is a soul-destroying business, but his anger is misdirected and misplaced.

There is no point in blaming hard pressed home buyers for taking a bargain when it's offered up on a plate.

His row should be with the receiver who is managing to get some money back on the property but, according to Sean isn't paying even a small percentage of the money owed to contractors.

A Dragon should know that breathing fire is a very special and unique gift and should only be used when the circumstances merit it and when the target has been clearly and correctly identified.