Developer McFeely says Priory Hall ‘not a fire trap’

The 200-apartment complex was closed by fire officers in October 2011

The developer Tom McFeely has claimed Priory Hall was “not the fire trap they said it was”.

The developer Tom McFeely has claimed Priory Hall was “not the fire trap they said it was”.

 

Developer Tom McFeely has claimed Priory Hall was “not the fire trap they said it was”.

The 200-apartment complex was closed by fire officers from Dublin City Council in October 2011 over safety concerns and the State agreed last year to spend €10 million making it habitable again.

In a n interview to be broadcast tonight on BBC One Northern Ireland, Mr McFeely, a former IRA man from Dungiven, Co Derry, said he was unrepentant about building Priory Hall.

“We are getting to the sort of the level of the gutter media again – what would I apologise for? I don’t think it’s a shoddy building, you see. I don’t think it is any different than most of the other buildings in Dublin,” he said.

“I do not believe that Priory Hall should have been evacuated. Because it is not the fire trap they said it was.”

Responding last night, Graham Usher, a former resident of Priory Hall, said: “Tom McFeely was in court the day that the Dublin City Council fire officer gave a detailed explanation of why it was a firetrap. He was given an opportunity that day to respond but couldn’t.”

“My attitude towards Tom McFeely today is let him at it,” Mr Ussher said. “Fortunately I don’t have to worry about him anymore and finally we’re close to putting it all behind us.”

Mr McFeely also denied that €200,000 found stashed behind a bath in his former mansion on Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4, was his.

“Don’t ask me, you may ask the people that put it there. All I can tell you is, right, it is not my money. Do you think for one moment I left money behind me and I forgot about it, that even the house was full of 5 or 6 or 8 or 10 security men, that I wouldn’t have went in and took it out again?”

Chris Lehane, the court-appointed official in charge of McFeely’s debts post his bankruptcy, asked the High Court in December 2013 to release €5,000 of the money found in his former home to former Priory Hall resident Stephanie Meehan whose partner Fiachra Daly took his own life.

The money was released at the request of the new owners of Mr McFeely’s former home, who were due it as a finders-fee.

Mr Lehane said he was satisfied that all of the money was the property of Mr McFeely.

Mr McFeely also denied to BBC reporter Ciaran Tracey he was a hypocrite for going bankrupt in Britain rather than in the Republic he claimed to have fought for as a former IRA prisoner and hunger striker.

“Tell me something, if you were hungry tomorrow, which of the two passports would you eat to put the hunger off you?”

Mr McFeely served 12 years of a 26-year sentence in the Maze prison after shooting and wounding an RUC officer during a siege of a house in Co Derry. He said his only regret about being in the IRA was that he had not done more.

“I am not one to sit down and deny that I wasn’t in the IRA, or that I didn’t do anything, of course I done, to the best of my ability at the time. In hindsight, yes, I could have been better,” he said.

“I could have done more than I actually done. If I was going to regret it I wouldn’t have done it.”

The bankrupt developer also denied that he had money stashed offshore.

Mr McFeely is interviewed on the Spotlight programme at 10.35pm.