Haugheys raise €45m from sale of Kinsealy home, land


Former Taoiseach Mr Charles Haughey and his family have realised about €45 million from the sale of his home and land in the Abbeville estate at Kinsealy, north Dublin.

The property was acquired on Tuesday by Manor Park Homebuilders, which is controlled by businessman Mr Joe Moran.

Mr Haughey and his wife, Maureen, will have to vacate Abbeville House within one year under the agreement. Mr Moran would say only that there was "no life tenancy" built into the deal.

Aged 78 next month, Mr Haughey has been in poor health. He was treated in hospital last May for prostate cancer, which was diagnosed almost eight years ago. While he is said by friends to have weakened considerably, he is in reasonable spirits. There was no response last night to a telephone call to his home.

Mr Haughey made a final tax settlement of €5 million with the Revenue in May. This payment brought his tax settlements arising from the disclosures at the McCracken and Moriarty tribunals to €6.28 million.

He remains potentially liable, however, for significant legal fees arising from his representation at the Moriarty tribunal, which has yet to report its findings. Mr Haughey acquired Abbeville House for £120,000 in 1969, when he was minister for finance. The mansion was designed by James Gandon.

He lived there for the remainder of his turbulent political career. While he was Taoiseach three times, his record has been overshadowed by the disclosure of his secret income from business figures since.

Manor Park, which has accumulated profits of more than €20 million, could build up to 4,000 homes on the 235 acres adjoining Abbeville House. It has plans for a village-type development in the area.

The land is zoned for leisure purposes so the company will have to seek residential zoning from Fingal County Council for any such development. Neither Mr Haughey nor his family will benefit from any such rezoning, if it is secured.

The house and lands could have realised in excess of €80 million if zoned residential. But the purchase price, understood to be in the region of €45 million, reflects the zoning for leisure purposes.

Mr Haughey is also believed to have sold a separate lot of 13 acres in Kinsealy in recent weeks.

The purchaser was the privately- owned property company, Treasury Holdings, which is believed to have paid around €5 million for the land. Treasury Holdings was reported to have bought Abbeville House two years ago, but no deal was concluded. The company could not be contacted.

Mr Moran said yesterday his company had bought the property directly from Mr Haughey. He did not disclose the price. Describing himself as "apolitical", Mr Moran said his discussions with Mr Haughey started earlier this year. "We made the approach. We knew the land was available."

He said the company had not yet decided on plans for Abbeville House, which is a listed building.

Manor Park is known to be developing an upmarket restaurant at Ongar House, near Clonee, Co Meath, which was the home of the late Aly Khan and the late actress Maureen O'Sullivan.

The focus of the company would be on home-building on the lands at Kinsealy, said Mr Moran. "It's a wonderful location and we'd like to develop it with that in mind."

Mr Moran is chief executive of IWP, the household goods and personal care products manufacturer. He owns 51 per cent of Manor Park, and 49 per cent is held by the industrial holding group DCC, led by Mr Jim Flavin.

The latest Companies Office records show that Manor Park Homebuilders made a pre-tax profit of €2.2 million in the year to the end of March 2002 on sales of €32.47 million. The company had options to acquire building land worth €19 million at that time. This did not include Mr Haughey's property.