Gavin O'Reilly sells Dalkey mansion to Digicel chief exec
Gavin O’Reilly, the former head of Independent News Media, sold his eight-bedroom house in Dalkey yesterday for just over €3 million to Colm Delves, chief executive of Digicel, the Caribbean-based mobile phone company owned by his long-time business rival Denis O’Brien.
Bartra House, a 9,149sq ft three-storey property dating back to the 1850s, has been bought by Mr Delves, who runs Digicel’s business from its headquarters in Jamaica.
While Mr Delves’s purchase is in no way linked to Mr O’Brien, there is a rich irony in the transaction given that Mr O’Reilly and Mr O’Brien were at loggerheads in recent years over control of INM, Ireland’s biggest newspaper group.
Mr O’Reilly resigned from INM in April with an exit package of €1.87 million.
This followed a long-running dispute with Mr O’Brien and his representatives on the board of the company about strategy and INM’s poor trading performance.
Mr O’Brien owns just under 30 per cent of INM and exercises considerable control over the business following a number of changes to the make-up of its board since April.
Shares in INM fell by 40 per cent in Dublin yesterday to close at just over 5 cents each.
Mr O’Reilly owned Bartra House with actor Alison Doody. Mr O’Reilly is now based in London.
Mr O’Reilly and Ms Doody bought the property in 1996 and put it up for sale earlier this year with an asking price of €3.9 million.
They are reported to have paid €2.47 million to buy the house.
Mr Delves declined to comment on the purchase yesterday. However, it is understood that he is not planning to return to Ireland in the near future and will continue to run Digicel’s operations from Jamaica.
Mr Delves has spent 8½ years working abroad for Digicel. He also owns a property in Drogheda, Co Louth.
Bartra is a Victorian house built for one of the earls of Carysfort as his summer villa. Situated on Harbour Road, it has about two acres of gardens sloping down to the shoreline.
In a report earlier this year in The Irish Times property section, Bartra House was said to have suffered some “battering by the elements, with paint peeling off some of the windows and a Victorian orangery in need of repair”.
It was described as having “breathtaking views out to Dublin Bay, the Kish and Dalkey Hill”.