Former Priory Hall resident to get share of McFeely bath cash
New owners of Ailesbury Road house donate their €5,000 share of reward to Stephanie Meehan
The former home of bankrupt developer Thomas McFeely on Ailesbury Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.
Former Priory Hall resident Stephanie Meehan has been given a portion of the €200,000 found beneath a bath in the former home of bankrupt developer Thomas McFeely.
Ms Meehan, who was one of more than 200 residents evacuated from Priory Hall two years ago, and whose partner Fiachra Daly subsequently took his own life, is to receive €5,000, High Court judge Mr Justice Brian McGovern ruled yesterday.
Mr McFeely, a former IRA hunger striker, had owned Coolbawn, Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4. It was taken over by Nama when his business collapsed and sold to former Sunday Times Irish editor Rory Godson and his wife Hilary Hynes last May.
The cash, in used notes in packages of €5,000, was discovered beneath a bath by builders renovating the house for the new owners.
Official assignee Chris Lehane asked Mr Justice McGovern to approve an order stating the €200,000 found in the house did indeed belong to Mr McFeely.
The developer had denied the money was his and claimed gardaí had planted it there.
In documents filed in court, a letter from Mr McFeely’s solicitor in London said his client, who is bankrupt, had “no knowledge” of the money discovered at his home.
“The money did not belong to him and was not left by him at the property when it was repossessed,” the letter said.
It also said Mr McFeely would be willing to attend an interview with Mr Lehane provided his travel costs were paid for.
“He does not have any source of income and does not have the funds available to cover costs,” it said.
Mr Lehane said he was satisfied the €200,000 was hidden by Mr McFeely and did belong to him. It was “clearly untrue” that gardaí had placed it there. There were also no other claims on the money, he said.
He asked Mr Justice McGovern to approve a transfer of the money to his office. Mr Lehane also asked for permission to pay a €10,000 reward to the finders.
The two builders who located the money were to receive €2,500 each, he said, and the couple who bought the property on Ailesbury Road were to receive €5,000.
“I believe it is fair and just reward for their honesty,” Mr Lehane said. He told the court that the owners both wished that any reward payable to them should be paid to Mr Daly’s partner. The money would be paid to Ms Meehan, he said.
Mr Justice McGovern made the orders. “This is a very generous gesture on their part,” he remarked.
Mr Daly died last July after struggling with the stress and financial difficulties caused by problems with Priory Hall. The development in Donaghmede was evacuated in October 2011 for health and safety reasons.
Last night, a spokesman for Ms Meehan said she was very grateful.
“It was a lovely gift to receive before Christmas, a very thoughtful gesture,” he said.