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By Conor Feehan
Herald.ie
June 07 2012

ROGUE builder Tom McFeely’s wife is fighting to stay in their €10m Ballsbridge home for at least a year.

McFeely is set to lose his Ailsbury Road home after defaulting on the mortgage of nearly €10m — but his wife has appealed for more time to move out.

Tom McFeely

She wants to be allowed remain in the home until one of the couple’s teenage children finishes school next summer.

There was no response from the McFeely home when the Herald called today.

Repossess

NAMA has been granted an order to repossess Coolbawn on Ailsbury Road in Dublin 4.

The mansion, which previously housed the German embassy, was once valued at €15m.

The three-storey property is a Victorian five-bedroom house with a self-contained ground floor that could be converted into an apartment or offices.

McFeely declared himself bankrupt in the UK in January, while the people who bought apartments in the Priory Hall fire trap he built continue to live in alternative accommodation after being evacuated from the Donaghmede complex in October.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane granted NAMA the order for possession at the Circuit Civil Court yesterday.

However, McFeely’s wife Nina is to ask the judge to allow her to stay living in the house at 2 Ailesbury Road, until one of her children finishes his Leaving Cert in June next year.

Judge Linnane adjourned the question of putting a stay on the order until tomorrow.

Defaulted

The court heard the McFeelys obtained an interest-only mortgage loan of more than €9.5m in December 2006 from Irish Nationwide Building Society which had been defaulted on.

More than €500,000 is also outstanding in unpaid interest.

Lawyers for the McFeelys said there was little defence the couple could present to NAMA recovering the property on foot of the mortgage.

Barrister Martin Canny said that McFeely now spent most of his time living in London. Mr Canny said that the McFeelys’ two teenage children continued to live with their mother in the house, and he said he would be asking the court to allow the family to remain there until one of the children, who is 17, has finished his education.

Senior counsel for NAMA Michael McDowell said the agency was prepared to agree to a stay of several weeks on the possession order to allow the family to find an alternative place to live.

But he said NAMA would not be agree to a stay until the student had finished his education.

The judge said that in order to grant a stay to the family, she would require documentary proof that the property had been insured, or that an insurance company was dealing with an insurance cover application.

cfeehan@herald.ie

Breaking News.ie
18/04/2012

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny met with residents of Priory Hall – after they protested outside a jobs announcement today.

The residents have been living in rented property since October – when their homes were deemed unsafe.

The matter is before the courts again next week – when Dublin City Council will again appeal to stop paying for the residents’ alternative accommodation.

Spokesperson for the residents Darren Kelly said: “It’s a step forward. We have no firm commitments from the Taoiseach other than that he has agreed to meet with us after the court date.

“We put some questions to him in relation to the Irish Banking Federation to try and put some pressure on them to put a freeze on the mortgages. However, he said he will be unable to make any commitment.”

RTÉ
16 Mar 2012

The court rejected arguments by counsel for Dublin City Council that the Supreme Court was wrong to put a stay on the three-month sentence imposed by the High Court for failing to remedy defects.

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said the Supreme Court granted a stay last November when Dublin City Council’s legal team failed to show up to argue against it.

He said the counsels had failed to show that there was no possible argument against the prison sentence in Mr McFeely’s appeal.

But Mr Justice Hardiman said the Supreme Court appeal should be heard as quickly as possible and both sides have agreed to submit written legal arguments within one week.

Speaking after today’s court case Priory Hall residents confirmed that they are being advised to file for bankruptcy.

Spokesman Graham Ussher said they had all received advice that the new legislation on mortgage default may be their only way out.

He said many residents had mortgages in the region of €250,000 to €300,000.

Dublin City Council is currently paying their rent but will be appealing that obligation in the Supreme Court on 24 April.

Mr Ussher said residents could not pay rent on top of mortgages and unless financial institutions agreed to freeze those repayments then bankruptcy could be the only other option.

By Niall O’Connor
Herald.ie
5 March 2012
**Via Newshound

DISGRACED developer Tom McFeely today refused to apologise for branding Priory Hall residents “jumped-up Hitlers”.

The cowboy builder gave the ultimate snub to the 261 residents whose lives have been devastated by his shoddy workmanship.

Tom McFeely

In an interview with the Herald today, McFeely reacted furiously to suggestions he has left dozens of families hung out to dry.

And when asked what message he has for the families facing homelessness, he told us: “Nothing at all.”

Mr McFeely enraged the Priory Hall families this weekend by claiming he had been verbally attacked by some of them, whom he dubbed “jumped-up Hitlers”.

Nordie

In an interview he said he had been victimised by authorities in Dublin because of his IRA past and his “Nordie” accent.

“The real problem lies with the people making these unfounded allegations. If they were honest, they would call it as it is. Namely, Tom McFeely, the ex-IRA hunger striker is a Nordie and they don’t want his type down here,” McFeely remarked.

His comments, which appeared in the Sunday Times, were dubbed “pathetic” and “idiotic” by the Priory Hall residents today, who vowed not to “stoop to his level”.

“McFeely has no sympathy for us. His action outside the courts, when he referred to the residents as ‘begrudgers’, and the smug grin he wore on his face each day as he walked out of court tells us all we need to know of his sympathy,” resident Graham Usher told the Herald today.

“His comments are pathetic and idiotic, we won’t stoop to the kind of level of calling people ‘jumped-up Hitlers’,” he added.

The 261 residents today woke up to begin their 20th week away from their Donaghmede apartments — which they once saw as their “dream homes”.

The families have been living a nightmare about being forced to move into temporary accommodation in October because their McFeely-built homes posed serious fire safety risks.

The cowboy builder however reacted furiously when contacted by the Herald today over his refusal to take responsibility for his north Dublin firetrap.

The ex-Provo launched an astonishing broadside on the “gutter f*****g press”, which he said has “victimised” him on a daily basis.

The Ex-IRA hunger striker was today challenged for the first time over his despicable failure to take responsibility for the firetrap homes.

But today he again refused to help the families, telling the Herald: “What have you done to help them other than give out lies in your gutter press”.

The Herald contacted Mr McFeely on his Northern mobile this morning to ask what message he had for the devastated families who have suffered a horrendous ordeal.

Victimising

A fuming Mr McFeely barked:

“It’s people like you who are victimising me, normal people in the street don’t victimised me”.

The one-time property tycoon bizarrely talked about 19th-cen politician William Martin Murphy.

And Mr McFeely seemed to off-load all his anger on the former member of parliament.

“William Martin Murphy was the guy that formed your paper, he had a Free State mentality beyond belief, not necessarily you, but your paper has a Free State mentality beyond belief,” he fumed. “Your paper does not recognise people like me at all.”

And he took major exception with the Herald’s front-page article before Christmas in which we proved that McFeely couldn’t give less of a damn about the lives he’s ruined.

Our exclusive photographs showed his €15m Ailesbury Road mansion and the lavish lifestyle he still clearly enjoys.

Mr McFeely had the palatial pad decked out with Christmas decorations and presents as Priory Hall families were left in misery.

During the weekend interview, Mr McFeely denied fleeing to the UK in order to avail of more lenient bankruptcy laws.

By Caroline O’Doherty
Irish Examiner
Saturday, February 11, 2012

Priory Hall residents will mark four months out of their homes with a protest march tomorrow to highlight the legal limbo in which they are trapped.

Almost 250 homeowners and tenants, evacuated by court order from the Dublin apartment complex after it was declared a fire hazard, have been in temporary accommodation in hotels and other rental properties since October.

Dublin City Council, which secured the evacuation order, is trying to get out of paying for the alternative accommodation and an application to that effect will be before the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The council says Tom McFeely, the developer behind the substandard complex, should pay for the accommodation and for repairs to Priory Hall, but he was declared bankrupt in England last month.

Niall O’Reilly, spokesman for the residents, said they were growing increasingly anxious and stressed. “It’s the way it’s dragging on and the uncertainty about what’s ahead that’s so hard,” he said. “We’re still paying the mortgages on our homes in Priory Hall, even though we can’t live in them and probably will never live in them again. If the council stop paying the rent on our temporary accommodation, the mortgage payments will have to take a backseat because none of us can afford both.

“What happens to us then? It’s all very well for Tom McFeely to declare himself bankrupt and start afresh after a year, but we can’t take off to England to do that. And if we were made bankrupt, we’d be affected for life.”

The complex was sealed off last October for remedial works, but they were abandoned after a few weeks when Mr McFeely said he had no money to complete them.

Mr O’Reilly said the condition of the buildings was deteriorating all the time.

The residents have appealed repeatedly to Environment Minister Phil Hogan to meet them but in the last week he refused for a fourth time to do so, saying it would be “inappropriate” while legal proceedings were continuing.

Tomorrow’s march begins at 2pm at Donaghmede Shopping Centre and will carry on to Priory Hall.

RTÉ
9 Jan 2012

Dublin City Councillors have passed a resolution calling on the Taoiseach and the and Environment Minister to meet residents of Priory Hall.

Dublin City Councillors have unanimously passed a resolution calling on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to meet residents of Priory Hall.

Fine Gael councillors backed the resolution, which also called for a Dáil committee to make recommendations on how to deal with the problem.

Over 250 residents, including apartment owners and private tenants, are in temporary accommodation after they were forced to leave because of fire safety risks.

The Environment Minister has said he cannot meet residents because there is a case before the courts, but Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said he could not see a sub judice issue about a meeting.

The Supreme Court is due to fix a date on 19 January for a hearing on whether Dublin City Council is liable for the residents’ accommodation costs and for developer Tom McFeely’s appeal against a jail sentence for failing to carry out remedial works.

Meanwhile, two different councillors have contradicted council officials’ denials they offered apartment owners €50,000 each for their properties.

This evening’s monthly council meeting heard that this would have totalled €10m and still left residents with hundreds of thousands of euro in mortgage liabilities.

City Manager John Tierney said the question of the council buying out the apartments was raised by the residents and the figure of €50,000 referred to their current valuation.

But councillors Brian McDowall and Mícheál Mac Donnacha both claimed the buyout figure was among a range of options raised during confidential discussions.

Dublin City Council has denied that it offered €50,000 euro per property to the owner of apartments in Priory Hall in Dublin.

RTÉ
8 Jan 2012

Dublin City Council has denied that it offered €50,000 euro per property to the owner of apartments in Priory Hall in Donagmeade, Dublin.

The development has been empty since the High Court ruled it be evacuated on safety grounds last October.

A spokesperson for Priory Hall residents claimed the council offered to buy properties there

A council spokeswoman said no such offer was made to any resident or owners of property in the development and she also denied the council is negotiating to lease properties from owners.

The statement comes after homeowners from Priory Hall claimed the offer was made to their legal representative in early December.

Residents’ spokesperson Graham Usher said the offer was made but in any event it is not acceptable to owners as most have outstanding mortgages of up to €350,000.

He said selling for €50,000 would leave them to shoulder massive personal debt.

Meanwhile the council is continuing to pay the accommodation cost of Priory Hall residents put out of their home.

However the council will go to the Supreme Court on 19 January to seek to have a High Court order that they continue to pay for the accommodation quashed.

GENEVIEVE CARBERY
Irish Times
4 Jan 2012

**Don’t you just love it? — Mr Kenny’s return email to one displaced resident said he “has noted the points you raised” and “extends his very best wishes to you”. –How heartwarming.

DISPLACED RESIDENTS of the Priory Hall apartment complex have expressed dissatisfaction at an email from Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s office in response to a plea for help.

Chairwoman of the Priory Hall Residents’ Committee wrote to Mr Kenny after one resident received an email from his office yesterday.

Mr Kenny’s office wrote that her correspondence would be copied to Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan. The email said Mr Kenny “has noted the points you raised” and “extends his very best wishes to you”.

Some 240 residents of the complex were forced to leave their Dublin homes 80 days ago due to serious fire safety risks. Residents were not satisfied with the reply because Mr Hogan has not met them.

“Although it is a very nice email, the problem is Minister Hogan has made it perfectly clear that he will not meet with the residents of Priory Hall,” committee chairwoman Sinead Power wrote in an email to Mr Kenny yesterday. She urged him to help. The plight of residents was being “ignored” by Government and was a “monument to everything that was wrong in this country for the last 10 years”, she wrote.

Mr Hogan could not meet with residents due to ongoing court proceedings a Department of the Environment spokesman said.

Later this month Dublin City Council will seek to overturn a court order to pay the accommodation expenses of the residents. “This month we have to fight to stay in our emergency accommodation,” Ms Power said.

Irish Times
16 Dec 2011

AN APPLICATION to have developer Thomas McFeely declared bankrupt has been scheduled for hearing next month after Mr McFeely agreed yesterday to accept the bankruptcy summons papers in court.

The developer, who was sued by Dublin City Council in other proceedings over fire safety issues at his Priory Hall apartment complex in Donaghmede, had claimed a bankruptcy summons issued on behalf of Theresa McGuinness, Rush, Co Dublin, had not been appropriately served.

Ms McGuinness is seeking to have Mr McFeely declared bankrupt arising from the failure to pay her an award made to her in 2009 against his company, Coalport Ltd.

After hearing from counsel for Mr McFeely yesterday that he was prepared to accept the bankruptcy summons in court, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne adjourned the matter until January 16th.

Earlier yesterday, Ms McGuinness said she had engaged Mediation Services, Maynooth, Co Kildare, to serve Mr McFeely with the bankruptcy papers and was satisfied this had been done on October 21st. However, she was not in a position to call the summons server to give evidence as he was no longer in the jurisdiction.

The court also heard from a subpoenaed witness Dyane Connor, TV3 courts correspondent. Ms Connor said that on October 21st, she left the Four Courts building at Chancery Place and put questions to Mr McFeely in relation to a separate case. She said she saw Mr McFeely getting into a taxi before being approached by a man who knocked on the window and handed him a newspaper.

“Mr McFeely took hold of the newspaper and the man pulled it back and there was an envelope underneath,” she said. “Mr McFeely took hold of the envelope and the man said ‘you’ve been served’ and Mr McFeely threw the envelope on the pavement.”

Ms Connor said she later picked up the envelope and handed it to a security guard. She was also shown a photograph by Ms McGuinness and identified Mr McFeely and the man who gave him documents.

Martin Hayden SC, for Mr McFeely, said Ms Connor’s evidence was not evidence of service and it showed the document had not even been opened by Mr McFeely.

Mr Hayden said Ms Connor had fairly set out the sequence of events as she saw it and had “clearly indicated a subterfuge of concealment in a newspaper at a time when Mr McFeely was dealing with another application before the High Court”.

This was “hardly an appropriate method for a summons server to engage in and hardly a practice that should be encouraged”.

Ms McGuinness had sued Coalport over attempting to sell her a house in Balrothery, Co Dublin, with serious structural defects. She was awarded €103,000 in damages but claims she is owed an additional €200,000 in costs arising from her 2009 court action.

Mr McFeely is also appealing a High Court ruling that he breached court orders and undertakings requiring him to meet weekly targets for the completion of fire safety works at Priory Hall.

He is also appealing orders which have been stayed pending his appeal, fining him €1 million and jailing him for three months.

By Caroline O’Doherty
Irish Examiner
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SIX-YEAR-OLD Oisin Daly has full faith Santa will find his temporary address away from his Priory Hall home but his parents only wish they could have as much belief in the Government, local authority and justice system.

Oisin’s family are among the 240 residents evacuated from the north Dublin apartment complex condemned as a fire hazard and left in limbo with remedial works abandoned by the bust builder who had been ordered by the courts to put things right.

Today they will find out if Dublin City Council will continue to pay their rent at the alternative temporary accommodation where they have staying for the past six weeks.

Some are in private rented properties, others are in NAMA apartments taken from bankrupt developers while about a dozen remain in the hotels where everyone was initially put up. Among them are welfare recipients who have had difficulty finding landlords to accept rent allowance.

Dublin City Council, which gave planning permission for the complex and belatedly discovered its many defects, was ordered by the High Court to pay for temporary accommodation but with the bill already at €350,000 and no indication how long ‘temporary’ might be, the local authority is going to the Supreme Court today to appeal to be relieved of that burden.

Oisin’s parents, Stephanie Meehan and Fiachra Daly, are dreading the thoughts of the council getting its way. “We’ll still have to pay the mortgage on our apartment and if we have to pay the rent on the temporary place as well, that will be about €3,000 a month,” said Stephanie.

“We’ll have to default on one or the other and we cannot not pay the rent because that’s the roof over our heads. But if we default on the mortgage, that will hang over us for the rest of our lives.

“We’ll have to declare bankrupt. I don’t want to be 34 and bankrupt with no prospects of ever being able to provide a home for our family again.”

Ursula Graham led the protest outside Leinster House yesterday demanding that Environment Minister Phil Hogan intervene.

“The Government is saying it’s a civil matter and to get involved would create a moral hazard because any builder could then walk away from their responsibilities but we say the state is walking away from its responsibilities to its citizens.”

Irish Times
9 Dec 2011

An appeal by Dublin City Council against orders requiring it to pay the accommodation costs of residents evacuated from the Priory Hall apartment complex is to go ahead at the Supreme Court next week.

The President of the High Court last October granted an application of the Council for evacuation of the 240 residents over fire safety concerns.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns also directed the council to pay the accommodation, storage and rental differential costs incurred by the residents who remain evacuated.

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile

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