Sale of Dragon’s Den star’s house raises €273,000 for charities

At least 13 families to benefit as all of proceeds to go to COPE Galway, Focus Ireland

 

At least 13 families are set to find a permanent home following the generosity of Dragon’s Den star Barry O’Sullivan in handing over the proceeds of the sale of his holiday home on the Aran Islands.

The six-bedroom property on Inis Mór went under the hammer in Galway on Friday and was sold for €273,000 to an undisclosed purchaser.

The property was purchased for close to €500,000 by Mr O’Sullivan at the height of the Celtic Tiger era, and he estimates he spent another €250,000 on improvements to the house at Kilmurvey, on the largest of the three Aran Islands.

Not present

Mr O’Sullivan was not present in the auction room in Galway when the property was among 30 out of 36 sold.

Auctioneer Colm O’Donnellan of Galway city firm O’Donnellan & Joyce said there were three bidders in the field for the property, which had a reserve of €250,000.

“Bidding opened at €200,000 and went up in lots of €5,000 to the reserve price before one of the bidders dropped out. The bidding continued in bids of €2,000 and then €1,000 before it was sold.

“There was a lot of interest in the property, it is a fine house,” said Mr O’Donnellan, who said it was the first time in his 40-year career as an auctioneer that he had sold a house which had been donated to charity.

Mr O’Donnellan waived his auctioneer fees as well, ensuring that all of the purchase price will go to COPE Galway and Focus Ireland.

‘Wonderful gesture’

Jackie Horan of COPE Galway said it was a wonderful gesture by Mr O’Sullivan which would now benefit many families in the Galway area.

“On one night alone in Galway there were 124 households that we were working with who were homeless.

“We are going to use the proceeds of this sale in chunks of €20,000 essentially. So for every €20,000 raised we are going to be in a position to use that as leverage to purchase another house, either through housing agency grants or finance.

“This is going to bring much needed housing into Galway for families experiencing homelessness,” she said.