Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Empty Hotel Costs Taxpayer €1m A Year!

Taxpayers are forking out more than €1 million per year on bills such as electricity, gas, security and insurance to keep the lights on at the unfinished €170 million Kilternan Hotel and Country Club in Co Dublin.

Irish Nationwide, under former chief executive Michael Fingleton, lent publican Hugh O’Regan €170 million to develop the hotel, but he ran out of money before it was finished. The project went into receivership in 2009.

The receiver’s reports show that, over a 12-month period, the unfinished and empty hotel cost €270,000 to insure, €80,000 in ESB bills, €85,000 in gas bills to heat and €155,000 on security. There was also €200,000 spent on consultants, a further €110,000 on legal fees and €71,000 in receiver fees.

The company filings show that the firm behind the ill-fated development received more than €1 million from the state-owned Irish Nationwide during the period to meet these ongoing costs. Its sole revenue is €30,000 in rental income.

The receiver to Dashaven Ltd, the company behind the project, has been trying to find a buyer for the property, which requires further spending to complete. It is understood that, at the time of the receivership, the property needed around €10 million more to finish it off.

The Kilternan Hotel is just one of several massive projects that were funded by Fingleton’s Irish Nationwide during the boom years but have never been finished.

Details on the ongoing cost of the Kilternan Hotel come in a week where Nama appointed receivers to a British company, funded by Irish Nationwide, to develop and sell Updown Court, a £70 million sprawling mansion in Surrey in England. At present, it too lies empty.

Report by Richard Curran - The Sunday Business Post

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