Chinese takeover on Ailesbury


IT’S INTERESTING that in the week that a Chinese delegation led by vice president Xi Jinping is due to arrive in Ireland, word on the street (or the road to be more exact) is that the Chinese Embassy , located at 40 Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4, has bought number 38, the house next door, from Arthur Cox chairman, Eugene McCague.

It’s not known how much the Chinese paid for their neighbour’s house, and it seems it was a private sale, with no agent involved.

The Chinese rent and own a number of properties in the area including number 77 Ailesbury Road, which is close to the junction with Nutley Road, and its visa and consular office on 118 Merrion Road.

They’ve also been renting developer Paddy Kelly’s Clonmore on nearby Shrewsbury Road as a residence for their officials.

McCague, who is an expert on corporate restructuring, is married with three teenage children and was president of Dublin Chamber of Commerce in 2006.

In 2003, he reportedly sold his house on Temple Gardens in Rathmines for a reported

€4.5-€5 million in one of the biggest deals of that year. It was also reported at the time that he paid around €6.5 million for 38 Ailesbury Road.

The acquisition of number 38 would make the Chinese Embassy and the French embassy at number 36 next door neighbours.

What next? A gradual Chinese takeover of the area? There are currently less than a handful of properties openly on the market on Ailesbury Road, including number 9, formerly owned by businessman Liam Smyth, which is being sold by the receiver KPMG through Lisney for €2.95 million. The two-storey-over-basement semi-detached Victorian redbrick is a few doors away from the Polish Embassy but needs some work.

Following a string of departures of high-profile residents and property owners such as Bernard McNamara, Noel Smyth and Derek Quinlan in recent years, the road has seen the arrival of a new mix of Dublin professionals and returning emigrants.

Fewer embassies are chasing property on Ailesbury and nearby Shrewsbury Road these days – although the Chinese appear to be one of the few exceptions to the rule.