No bids on Dartmouth Sq at auction
Dartmouth Square in Dublin 6 attracted no bids at the latest Allsop/Space auction in the Shelbourne Hotel today - despite the fact it was among the most eagerly anticipated lots due under the hammer.
The auction for the square was open to pre-registered bidders only, and four separate bidders had put down a deposit of €14,000 for special green paddles which would have allowed them to bid. Allsop had set a reserve price of €140,000 on the two-acre square.
It was the only property carrying such a restriction among the 107 lots.
Dublin City Council plans to bid for the residential square, which was owned by Athlone businessman Noel O’Gara, who frustrated residents after he bought the park for about €10,000 in 2005 and attempted to run a tile showroom and car park on the site.
A successful bidder will have had to register in advance and show they have at least €14,000 ready to clear.
Labour councillor Mary Freehil, who was at the auction, described the non-bidding process as “a game of poker” and suggested none of the four bidders wanted to declare their hand too early.
“The only people who will be welcome as buyers will be the council - and they are quietly doing their own thing this afternoon,” she said.
Mr O'Gara, in the hotel for the auction, staged a small protest at the way the property was, in his view, taken from him. "This is all a set-up. The council have been trying to scare off other bidders by saying that anyone who buys the square will have no right to possession of it. Who would want to buy a piece of land that they could not take possession of?" he asked The Irish Times.
He said the reserve was too low and suggested the council was "trying to ensure it was the only bidder in the room - but it has been rumbled".
Last week the businessman failed to secure a court order setting aside a settlement agreement concerning ownership of the square. He had claimed he and his wife Naramon had been “conned” and “blackmailed” into signing the agreement last July which involved them handing over a lease and title deeds for the square.
Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan rejected his application to set aside the settlement on grounds of an alleged fraud after finding no evidence had been presented to the court to back up his claims.
Dartmouth Square was not the only property to fail to sell. Of the 65 properties which had gone up for auction by 1.45pm, 12 had either failed to meet their reserve or been withdrawn.