Shopping centre developer Phil Monaghan dies aged 75


The death has occurred of the businessman Mr Phil Monaghan (75), who was the biggest developer of shopping centres in the State. Mr Monaghan died yesterday. He had been ill for some time.

His company, Monarch Properties, built The Square in Tallaght, west Dublin, in the late 1980s.

While he preferred to maintain a relatively low profile, he was known as a major investor in property and a significant shareholder in the publicly quoted property group Dunloe Ewart, which was the subject of a protracted takeover battle last year.

From Dundalk, he had trained as a mechanic and worked as a teacher and technical manager before entering the property business when he was in his late 30s. He lived in Castleknock, Dublin.

Monarch traded in property initially but it entered the development business in the early 1970s when it built Dundalk shopping centre.

It was only the second such development in the State, after the Stillorgan centre in south Dublin.

Monarch followed the Dundalk development with shopping centres in Drogheda, Navan and Athlone.

Its first development in Dublin was the Janelle shopping centre in Finglas, which was followed by the Nutgrove centre in Rathfarnham.

It was the €107.9 million development of The Square, built with the support of the GRE insurance group, that made his reputation.

Planned long before the boom of the 1990s, many in the property business doubted the centre's prospects of coming to fruitition.

However, Mr Monaghan demonstrated significant political clout by securing the approval of the then environment minister, Mr Pádraig Flynn, for the designation of the site for tax benefits under an urban renewal programme. This was crucial to the project's success.

A millionaire who owned racehorses, vintage cars and a helicopter, he was known as an astute and hard-nosed businessman. While he frequently kept his competitors guessing about his intentions, he also gave money to charity.

He is survived by two daughters and four sons. His wife predeceased him.