Michael Fingleton, INBS and Mespil

Prime Time Investigates did a special into the banking and lending industry in Ireland the other night, and highlighted previously undisclosed 100% fast track loans given to politicians, including former Finance Minister Charle McCreevy.

Nothing of the programme was really surprising, but it did add extra details to the dealings of Michael Fingleton, a man with a coloured history, as I blogged about back in April.

Part of the reasons none of the details were the surprising is because there is prior form. Irish Nationwide have been giving special loans to special people for a very long time. If you cast your mind back to the Mespil Homes deal in the early 1990s, you see the same pattern.

So who else did Irish Nationwide (Michael Fingleton being one in the same, as Primetime demonstrated) provide loans for? Let’s look again at Mespil, as I blogged back in April:

The current editor of the Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy, then a reporter, wrote a story in May 1993 that Michael Fingleton got a mortgage from Irish Nationwide, the society he was managing director of, towards the purchase of a 1-bedroom flat in the Mespil Estate. In all, Mr Fingleton bought four apartments. with one mortgaged from the society.

But Mr Fingleton was not the only one to buy apartments in the estate, and not the only one to get a mortgage from Irish Nationwide. Solicitor Andrew O’Rourke bought two apartments in trust for two daughters of then Fianna Fail taoiseach Albert Reynolds, Emer and Leonie.

100% mortgages were advanced to 51 customers to buy 93 apartments. These included the then Attorney General Harry Whelehan, broadcaster Marian Finucane, AIB’s Anthony Spollen, former publican Dessie Hynes and the then Comptroller and Auditor General Patrick McDonnell.

Of course Mr Fingleton had not declared the purchased of the apartment, as he was obliged to do under the Building Societies Act. He later corrected the record. The following year, further details emerged. Central Bank filings in 1994 showed that seven loans totalling £342,000 were made to people and a company connected with society chairman Peter O’Connor. Five loans totalling £163,000 were made to people connected to director John Murphy.

Four loans with a total value of £125,500 were made to people connected to Mr Fingleton, including the £110,000 loan to himself. Three loans were advanced to Peter O’Connor, son of the chairman. Mr Fingleton’s brother also took out loans.

As long ago as 1994, Mr Fingleton’s salary, then an enormous £249,000 a year, was questioned by shareholders.

In 1999, Mr Fingleton was threatened with imprisonment by a High Court judge over the employment and treatment of a branch manager in Cavan town.

All very interesting. But how does it relate back to our current questions?

Fast forward to 2000, and the Flood Tribunal is in full swing. On April 19, 2000, Frank Dunlop stopped stonewalling and after reflecting overnight, said he had participated in wholescale corruption. I myself was at the Flood Tribunal that day.

Someone else was giving evidence that day though, Michael Fingleton.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? In 2000 Mark Keenan wrote an analysis of the Mespil deal for the Sunday Tribune. He looked at it from the angle of the tenants of the apartments, elderly people who had their rented homes essentially sold from under their feet. But let’s look at it again in light of the Primetime programme.

100% mortgages in 1993? I can’t imagine this being very common practice. Also look at the profiles of the people who not only got 100% mortgages, but also got the apartments at apparent knockdown prices, courtesy of New City Estates via Irish Life. Let’s take another, closer, look. And please remember, at the time the State had a 30% stake in Irish Life.

In Apil 1992 The Irish Times reported that Irish Life was considering selling one of the 12 Mespil Apartment blocks.

“Irish Life is to sell one of the 12 apartment blocks at the Mespil Estate beside the Burlington Hotel in Dublin 4, and is to decide later this year whether to put more of the complex up for sale. There are 299 apartments rented out to tenants in Mespil, the largest privately-owned rental complex in the country.

If Irish Life eventually decides to sell the entire complex, it will represent the most important residential property disposal in Dublin for many years, on account of the number of units involved and their prime Dublin 4 location.”

The following year, in March 1993, The Irish Times reported:

“The company which bought one of the apartment blocks in the Mespil Estate in Dublin 4 from Irish Life last year is putting the 16 apartments in it up for sale individually next week – the first time that flats in the complex have gone on sale publicly.

Up until last year, Mespil was owned by Irish Life, which rented out the 299 apartments to tenants. Irish Life sold the entire complex last autum to a group of investors.

Only one of the 12 apartment blocks was sold by Irish Life with full vacant possession. This block, located nearted the Burlington Hotel at the front of the seven-acre complex, was bought by Maypole Properties, which has since been upgrading the 16 flats in it for eventual sale.

Jill O’Neill in selling agents Sherry FitzGerald, says the eight one-bedroom units, with floor areas ranging from 445 square feet to 480 square feet, will cost from £52,500. There will be four two-bedroom apartments, each with approximately 550 square feet of accommodation and costing from £64,500. There are also four three-bedroom units, with floor areas of about 685 square feet and costing from £74,500.”

In May 1993 it turned out that First National Building Society funded the purchase by New City Estates of the apartment block. But it’s then managing director, Joe Treacy, bought six of the apartments from New City Estates once they went on the open market. 50 of the investors received mortgages from the First National, but Mr Treacy did not use a First National loan, instead using Ulster Bank.

By May 8, 1993, Geraldine Kennedy wrote a story detailing who exactly had benefitted from the Mespil/New City Estates deal.

“The Minister for Finance, Mr Ahern, is being asked to investigate the circumstances in which the 299 flats in the Mespil Estate in Dublin 4 were sold privately by Irish Life Assurance plc to a group of investors which includes a number of well-known persons in political, legal and business circles.

Two of the Taoiseach’s daughters, Emer and Leoinie; the Attorney-General Mr Harry Whelehan; the former managing-director of the First National Building Society, Mr Joe Treacy; and the managing-director of the Irish Nationwide Building Society, Mr Michael Fingleton were part of a private consortium of “in excess of 20 individual investors” put together by New City Estates, the property management company, to buy the apartments for £8.5 million, an average of £28,000 each, last December. Some of them already listed in the Registry of Deeds as the new owners of flats in the Mespil Estate.”

The then managing director of New City Estates, which owned 600 properties in Dublin, was Michael Holland. Mr Holland’s business partner was Brendan Gilmore, who was financial adviser to Tony O’Reilly.

Harry Whelehan bought two apartments in two different blocks. Patrick MacEntee and Kevin Haugh, both barristers, bought two apartments each. Joseph McGettigan, a barrister, and Ian Candy a magistrate in Hong Kong, bought an apartment each. Louis Copeland, the tailor, Marian Finucane, the broadcaster, and Jim Milton of Murray Consultants also bought an apartment each.

Brendan Gilmore and Michael Holland, along with their associate, former deputy editor of the Sunday Business Post, James Morrissey also bought a number of apartments. Dessie Hynes, owner of Hynes’s pub in Rathgar bought a whole floor (five apartments) through a company called ODOM Ltd and the Comptroller and Auditor General, Patrick L McDonnell, bought an apartment.

Let’s publish the list of buyers: “The several Indentures of Lease dated 9th December 1992 made between Irish Life Assurance Public Limited Company 1st part, Copse [Management) Limited 2nd part Copse [name of block] Management Limited 3rd part and the Lessees named hereunder, 4th part.)”

Apt No Lessee
81 ODOM Limited
62 ODOM Limited
63 ODOM Limited
85 ODOM Limited
66 Joseph &; Elizabeth Stanley
87 Joseph &; Elizabeth Stanley
88 Joseph &; Elizabeth Stanley
89 Joseph &; Elizabeth Stanley
90 Joseph &; Elizabeth Stanley
91 Martin Callaghan & Patrick Freeley
92 John O’Donovan
93 John Hannon
94 Frederick and Heather Jackson
95 John O’Oonovan
96 Copse Ltd (In Trust)
97 Copse Ltd (In Trust)
90 Copse Ltd (In Trust)
99 Copse Ltd (In Trust)
100 Copse Ltd (In Trust)

Api No Lessee
101 Brian Dolan
102 Frank Holland
103 Margaret Grace
104 John Kavanagh and Loma Kavanagh
105 Patrick McMeyler
106 John McCann
107 Barry Cahill
108 John Holland
109 Loraine Cahill
110 Kathriana Cahlll
111 Kevin Kelly
112 Patrick and Elizabelh O’Shea
113 Patrick and Elizabelh O’Shea
114 Patrick and Elizabelh O’Shea
115 Patrick & Elizabeth O’Shea
116 Ann M Gilmore
117 Joe M. Treacy
110 Joe M. Treacy
119 Joe M. Treacy
120 Joe M. Treacy

Apt No Lessee
1 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
2 Brendan Gilmore
3 MichaeI Mooney
4 Michael Holland
7 Storage/Laundry
10 Michael Holland
11 Brendan Gilmore
12 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
13 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
14 Brendan Gilmore
15 Dalmatian Investments
16 Michael Holland
17 Brendan Gilmore
18 Michael Holland
19 Dalmatian Investments
20 Michael Holland
21 Michael Holland
22 Michael Holland
23 Michael Holland
24 Michael Holland
25 Brendan Gilmore
26 Brendan Gilmore
27 Brendan Gilmore
28 Brendan Gilmore
29 Brendan Gilmore
30 Michael Mooney
31 Michael Mooney
32 Michael Mooney
33 Michael Mooney
34 Michael Mooney
35 Michael Mooney
36 Michael Mooney
37 Michael Mooney
38 Michael Mooney
39 Dalmatian investments Ltd
40 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
41 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
42 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
43 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
44 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
45 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
46 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
47 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
48 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
49 Dalmatian Investments Ltd
50 Brendan Gilmore
51 Brendan Gilmore
52 Brendan Gilmore
53 Brendan Gilmore
54 Brendan Gilmore
55 Brendan Gilmore
56 Brendan Gilmore
57 Brendan Gilmore
58 Brendan Gilmore
59 Brendan Gilmore
60 Michael Holland
61 Michael Holland
62 Michael Holland
63 Michael Holland
64 Michael Holland
65 Michael Holland
66 Michael Holland
67 Michael Holland
68 Michael Holland
69 Michael Holland

Apt No Lessee
1 Dermot O’Rourke (in Trust)
2 John and Patricia Lowe
3 Harold Whelehan
4 Jim & Carmel Milton
5 James and Heather Morissey
6 Anthony and Georgina Spollen
7 Robert Walsh
8 Anne O’Neill
9 Brendan Boushel (in Trust)
10 Robert Waish
11 Sean O’Grady
12 Adrian Burke
13 Eugene Spollen
14 Eugene Spollen
15 Eugene Spollen
16 Eugene Spollen
17 Eugene Spollen
18 Eugene Spollen
19 Eugene Spollen
20 Eugene Spollen
21 Eugene Spollen
22 Eugene Spollen
23 Eugene Spollen
24 Eugene Spollen
25 Michael Holland, Blayney Rice and Dermot O’Rourke
26 Michael Holland, Blayney Rice and Dermot O’Rourke
27 Michael Holland, Blayney Rice and Dermot O’Rourke
28 Michael Holland, Blayney Rice and Dermot O’Rourke
29 Michael Holland, Blayney Rice and Dermot O’Rourke
30 Michael Holland, Blayney Rice and Dermot O’Rourke
31 Anthony & Georgina Spollan
32 Anthony & Georgina Spollan
33 Anthony & Georgina Spollan
34 James and Heather Morrissey
35 James and Heather Morrissey
36 James and Heather Morrissey

Apt No Lessee
1 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
2 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
3 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
4 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
5 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
6 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
7 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
8 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
9 Con & Paul Gilmore
10 Con & Paul Gilmore
11 Con & Paul Gilmore
12 Con & Paul Gilmore
13 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
14 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
15 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
16 Maypole Enterprises Ltd

Apt No Lessee
17 Josephine and Rose Gavigan
18 James Cahill
19 James Cahill
20 Gerard Farrelly & John MeDermolt
21 Barbara Mahony
22 Imelda Hayes
23 Margaret Behan
24 Brendan Cassidy
25 Thomas J. G. Thunder
26 Thomas J. G. Thunder
27 Thomas J. G. Thunder
28 Gerard Farrelly & John McDermott
29 Thompson and Patricia Butler
30 Joseph and Bridie Corcoran
31 Brandan and Bridie Cooney
32 Rebecca Sherling

Apt No Lessee
33 Edward Hayes
34 Brendan Smith & Joseph O’Leary
35 A.D. Madden
36 Trestive Ltd
37 John Clohisey
38 Trestive Ltd
39 Ian & Maire Candy
40 John Clohisey
41 Patrick McArdle
42 James J. Flynn
43 John Clohisey
44 Finbarr Cahill
45 Finbarr Cahill
46 Trestive Ltd
47 Hugh McGivern
48 Ciara Hynes

Apt No Lessee
1 Michael Mooney
2 Michael Mooney
3 Ann M. Gilmore
4 Michael Holland

Apt No Lessee
49 Maurice Heelan
50 Maurice Heelan
51 Maurice Heelan
52 Maurice Heelan
53 Joseph McGettigan
54 Dalmatian Investments
55 Michael Mooney
56 Copse Ltd (in Trust)
57 Patrick MacEntee
59 Kevin Haugh
59 Patrick MacEntee
60 Kevin Haugh
61 James Morrissey (in Trust)
62 James Morrisaey (in Trust)
53 James Morrisaey (in Trust)
64 Michael Holland

Apt No Lessee
1 Patrick Staunton and Catherine Fagan
2 John and Margaret Coughlan
3 John and Margaret Coughlan
4 Marie McMahon
5 Anthony and Rita Dunne
6 Anthony and Rita Dunne
7 Anthony and Rita Dunne
8 Anthony and Rita Dunne
9 John Kelly
10 John Lowe
11 Michael Holland
12 Meriel J. Heather
13 Brian and Maura Dolan
14 Meriel J. Heather
15 James Cahill
16 Chrisloptier Foxton
17 Linda Scales (in Trust)
18 Linda Scales (in Trust)
19 Linda Scales (in Trust)
20 Linda Scales (in Trust)
21 Linda Scales (in Trust)
22 Linda Scales (in Trust)
23 Linda Scales (in Trust)
24 Linda Scales (in Trust)
25 Con and Paul Gilmore
26 Con and Paul Gilmore
27 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
28 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
29 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
30 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
31 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
32 Maypole Enterprises Ltd
33 Michael Dawson
34 Brian Gaffney
35 Gerard Dooley
36 Hugh Davey
37 Kevin Blake
38 Derrick M. Cronnelly
39 Francis Larkin
40 J Francis Wade
41 John Flood and Niall Eyre
42 Joan Taaffe and Gerard Kelly
43 Philip and Rita Morrissey
44 Helen Morrissey
45 Liam Lally
46 Clare Healy
47 Mary Thornton
48 Harold Whelehan
49 Joe M. Treacy
50 Joe M. Treacy
51 Brendan and Ann Gilmore in trust for Suzanna Gilmore
52 Same in trust for Jennifer Gilmore
53 Same in trust for Suzanna Gilmore
54 Same in trust for Jennifer Gilmore
55 Anthony O’Shea
56 Ciara O’Shea

Apt No Lessee
121 John McCann & Oliver Coughlan
122 Anthony Hynes, Grainne Hynes
123 Eimear Conway
124 Noel Daly
125 Anthony Walsh
126 Patrick J. Daly
127 Mark McMonagle
123 Patrick J Daly
129 Briege Dobbin
130 Patrick J. Daly
131 Declan Carolan
132 James Carolan and Liam Carolan
133 Same
134 Fiona Carolan
135 Liam Carolan
136 Philip McMahon
137 Patrick L. McDonnell and Monica McDonnell
138 Louis Copeland
139 Marian Finucane
140 Sean Wood

Apt No Lessee
65 Anthony and Grainne Hynes
66 Shannon and Elaine Gilboume
67 Geraldine O’Reilly
68 Tom and Roni Mannix
69 John Reid
70 John Reid
71 John Reid
72 John Reid
73 Michael Fingleton
74 Michael Fingleton
75 Michael Fingleton
76 Michael Fingleton
77 Andrew O’Rorke (in Trust)
78 Same (in Trust)
79 Same (in Trust)
60 Same (in Trust)

On May 14, 1993, The Irish Times further reported that Irish Nationwide managing director Michael Fingleton got one mortgage from his own society to buy a 1-bedroom apartment at the Mespil Estate. He also bought 3 other apartments. First National are said to have advanced the mortgages in the other cases, including in many cases 100% mortgages, to 51 customers to buy 93 apartments. Around the same time First National and Irish Life were merging.

The following day it emerged that Mr Fingleton did not register the mortgage of £110,000 which he received from Irish Nationwide, with the Central Bank, as he was obliged to do under the Building Societies Act 1989.

In 2000, it emerged that Mr Fingleton had taken out loans totalling £1.25m from Irish Nationwide, the largest of which was a loan for £757,750 taken out in March 1999. Other executives at Irish Nationwide also took out a variey of loans, as did Mr Fingleton’s brother.

It is immensely beneficial to both the State and its citizens that names of politicians who took loans – some with minimal paperwork – from Mr Fingleton have emerged.

However, the fact loans were advanced to Fianna Fail politicians, Charlie McCreevy, Francie O’Brien, Sean McCarthy and Don Lydon, in the manner detailed by Prime Time Investigates does not come as much surprise.

11 thoughts on “Michael Fingleton, INBS and Mespil”

  1. I notice a few Morrissey’s on the list of Mespil owners, including Jim Morrissey. James Morrissey was Fingleton’s mouthpiece/PR person for years, renowned for his very non-beside manner of dealing with non-compliant journalists and columnists.

  2. http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/nationwide-no-longer-expects–fingleton-to-repay-83641m-bonus-1990740.html

    Gangsters reject Fingleton slur

    Leading Irish gangsters reacted angrily today to being associated with ex-Irish Nationwide boss Michael ‘Fingers’ Fingleton. The allegation was made by Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe during the recent Dail debates on the NAMA legislation.

    John Gilligan, speaking on a mobile phone from Portlaoise prison, said ‘We’re not in the same league as yer man at all. Sure I’ll have no pension to live on if I ever do get out of this place, and he walked away with €27 million and left the tax payer with his debts”.

    Gerry “The Monk” Hutch was interviewed while taking a pair of Northsiders to their debs in his stretch Hummer limo. “It’s so uncomfortable having to wear a bally or the oul tights when you go out on a job. Maybe I should have worn a nice suit and a trilby hat, and I wouldn’t have ended up driving these scangers around to keep the wolf from the door.

    Fingleton was not available for comment, as he was busy laughing all the way to the bank.

  3. This is a vital, damning post that should be widely circulated. Unfortunately, the significance of the Mespil affair has been largely forgotten except by a couple of books on Irish corruption and great blogs like this. If the matter had been properly investigated at the time – and I feel it still should be – then we must ask ourselves how much of the current disaster could have been prevented or mitigated. But it wasn’t. Unlikely any legislation will ever be moved or enforced, or investigation sought. Just Google a few of those names and see why not.
    Finally, the next time you get up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and tune into the radio and have to endure some soft soap interview with a bankster or their fellow-travellers, or have to stomach, by way of a “review of the papers”, revealations about ‘golden circles’ and the rest, send the radio station this link.

  4. Mespil is one of the original ‘golden circles’. The treatment of many of the original elderly tenants was a disgrace. Mespil was a form of private social housing and it was plundered by greedy people who were already ‘well got’. It mirrors the destruction of the country’s mutual financial services and their hijacking for the personal wealth of a coterie of directors.

    I wonder if the sons and daughters of these Mespil buyers, many of whom seem to have bought in trust for their offspring, realise the basis for their good fortune. Or do they have a sense of entitlement which is entirely unearned.

    ps – the Mespil story makes me wonder about what happened to Adair Flats, a similar but smaller apartment/housing complex in Dublin 4.

  5. Adair, Sandymount, Dublin 4, Co. Dublin, apartment, 1200 monthly, 2 bedrooms (2 double), 1 bathroom, furnished apartment

    This seems to have happened.

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