Business founded by ex-aide to Lord Sugar seizes control of Dublin asylum seeker hotel

Receivers appointed to Ibis Red Cow hotel by Propiteer, a business founded by Colin Sandy

A property business founded by a former financial adviser to Lord Alan Sugar has taken full control of a Dublin hotel that houses more than 300 asylum seekers on behalf of the State.

Dadac Limited, the UK company where Lord Sugar’s former aide Colin Sandy is a director, had receivers appointed to the Ibis Red Cow Hotel off the well-known M50 intersection. The State contract to accommodate the international protection applicants is a lucrative arrangement for the hotel, worth an estimated €700,000-€800,000 a month.

Insolvency practitioners Andrew O’Leary and Ken Fennell of Interpath (Ireland) were appointed to Propiteer Ibis Red Cow Limited, by BCMGlobal, a property manager and loan service provider on behalf of Mr Sandy’s Essex-based company, late last week.

The appointment came after a disagreement between the hotel’s shareholders – Propiteer, the UK-based property investment group founded by Mr Sandy, and their business partners, Derry businessmen Brendan Duddy jnr and his brother Lawrence.


The brothers are sons of the late Brendan Duddy snr, the Derry businessman who worked as a go-between developing secret contacts between the Provisional IRA and British intelligence during the Troubles that helped broker the Northern Ireland peace process.

Mr Sandy is a former finance director of Amshold Group, the private holding group behind Lord Sugar’s business empire. He served as finance director at Amshold’s property business and, for a time, as finance director at football club Tottenham Hotspur.

The partnership between the Duddy brothers and Mr Sandy’s Propiteer group dates back to 2018 when the 150-bedroom Ibis hotel was purchased for about €14 million.

Propiteer owned 60 per cent of the shareholding in the partnership with the Duddys owning the remaining 40 per cent. The Ibis employs about 40 staff.

The receivers have also been appointed over shares in the former Nambarrie Tea building site in Belfast with planning for a hotel and a hotel in Essex.

The accommodation contract is not affected by the receivership. The hotel will continue to trade and operate as an accommodation centre for international protection applicants.

About 200 Ukrainian refugees who were living at the hotel late last year were moved out of Ibis to accommodate new arrivals due to the State’s acute shortage of housing for refugees.

The most recent accounts for the company behind the hotel show that it had accumulated losses of €3.5 million at the end of 2019. It had bank loans of more than €10 million at the time.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times