Michael Healy-Rae says Allsop house purchase above board

Kerry TD would not have bid in public at RDS if he ‘wanted to do anything underhand’

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae has said he did nothing “ethically or morally” wrong in purchasing a property at an Allsop auction, having previously protested at a sale of distressed properties by the British company.

The Kerry TD bought the investment property – a three-bedroom house in Castleisland – at an Allsop auction in the RDS in February 2015 for €52,500, having protested at an Allsop auction of distressed properties in 2013.

Mr Healy-Rae said yesterday he had contacted the owner of the Castleisland property before the sale. It was a man who bought it as an investment property along with other properties. It “went wrong” and he was ready to sell it.

By contrast, the Kerry TD said he acted in 2013 when he was contacted by a constituent whose distressed property was being sold against their will.

He said that he, Independent TD Mattie McGrath and former TD Tom Fleming protested at the auction. Mr Healy-Rae said: "I had a great success with Allsop's, because in fairness to them, they put in place a very thorough system that if a property is taken from you and you protest against that sale they will not sell it.

‘Underhand’

“If I wanted to do anything underhand or cheap would I have gone to the RDS and in front of hundreds of people bid for the property against others? Wouldn’t I have got someone else to go out and buy it. I’d put it in my sister-in-law’s name and I wouldn’t have put it down on my register of interests.”

Insisting that the British auction house no longer sold properties if there was a protest against the auction, Mr Healy-Rae said “I take 100 per cent of the credit for that, with the help of Mattie McGrath and Tom Fleming.”

The Kilgarvan-based TD has more than 12 properties listed on the Oireachtas register of interests. The Castleisland property had originally been for sale by the owner for €79,000 and when a reduction in price still failed to produce a buyer the owner is understood to have contacted Allsop’s.