Former AIB chairman sells home for over €5m

Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 00:00

FORMER ATTORNEY General and chairman of AIB Dermot Gleeson has sold his semi-detached house at 8 Shrewsbury Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin, for a figure believed to be in excess of €5 million.

Mr Gleeson, who is understood to have moved to a new home in the south Dublin suburbs, chaired AIB for six years from 2003, a period which resulted in a dramatic drop in bank share prices and ultimately a government bailout.

Mr Gleeson is one of a long line of boom-era high flyers who have sold, or are trying to sell, their homes on Shrewsbury Road since the downturn.

The adjoining house, 6 Shrewsbury Road, was the family home of financier Derek Quinlan, who sold it early last year for an estimated €7 million following the collapse of his empire.

Number 8, an Edwardian semi, fetched substantially less than its neighbour because its value was affected by plummeting house prices. Although identical in style, the Quinlan house was expensively refurbished and remodelled and has a swimming pool in the rear garden. At the height of the boom a semi such as 8 Shrewsbury Road would have expected to make between €12 million and €15 million, depending on the condition and level of finish.

Mr Gleeson was one of Ireland’s leading barristers in the 1980s and 1990s. From 1994 to 1997 he served as attorney general under the rainbow coalition. In 2003 he was appointed chairman of AIB, until he stepped down six years later.

The period saw the infamous “egging” incident at the May 2009 shareholder’s meeting, where a frustrated pensioner hurled two eggs at Mr Gleeson.

Mr Gleeson was also involved with partnerships that made two substantial investments at the height of the boom, including the €20 million purchase of a building on Dawson Street, Dublin, that houses Carluccio’s restaurant, and the Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge .

Among the houses recently sold on Shrewsbury Road was Woodside, the offices of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, for about €8 million.

Thorndene, owned by businessman Niall O’Farrell, is still for sale through Colliers, and is also looking for €8 million.

Walford, the symbol of a boom gone mad, bought by developer Seán Dunne in 2005 for €58 million, went on the market for a substantially reduced price of €15 million in September. There has been huge secrecy surrounding the sale of the property, and a sale has not been confirmed.