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Archive for December 2nd, 2011

In the 1980s, it was Yosser Hughes in the bleak BBC drama “Boys from the Blackstuff” whose desperate plea “gizza job” was a catchphrase in the recession on both sides of the Irish Sea. Yesterday, one of Ireland’s most successful developers during the boom/bubble, Sean Dunne, gave an interview to the Irish Independent where he might have conceived a catchphrase for the 2010s as he told journalist Mark Hilliard “NAMA has taken everything off me; I’m in receivership, would you stop! Here give me a loan will ya!”

There’s very little new in the interview itself. The accompanying photograph confirms that Sean Dunne, the man and the developer, has trimmed down in more ways than one – rumour has it that the Missus has him on a diet and pounding the pavement to jog off the years of good living. It is true that NAMA appointed receivers to some of his property in Ireland in July 2011 and there are likely to be problematic legacy personal guarantees to sort out, but Sean Dunne also did business with non-NAMA banks – he said last week whilst commenting on ongoing renovation works at his Ballsbridge D4 Inn “I would like to thank our customers of D4Hotels and our funders Ulster Bank, ACC Bank and Kaupthing Singer Friedlander who have been most supportive of the D4 Hotels” so he’s not finished here by any means.

In recent months, Sean Dunne seems to have kept a low profile in Ireland. He was on the winning side of a legal case against a cleaning company who overcharged him at one of his apartment blocks – the court judgment is detailed in the blogpost “Baron Hardup, Widow Twankey and a feather duster – the Sean Dunne/Gina Farrell pantomime (with Buttons played by NAMA)” – and more importantly in September 2011 he finally secured planning permission to redevelop the Ballsbridge landbank he built up in the 2000s, though it has been said that development won’t begin for at least five years. In the US, he and his wife Gayle have been redeveloping one or two houses in Connecticut – small beer by The Baron of Ballsbridge’s standards. And in a legal case to retrieve a sum of money paid to a US attorney, it emerged that Gayle Dunne (or Gayle Killilea to use her maiden name by which she is sometimes still called) was investing in US property.

In the interview in today’s Independent, Sean Dunne confirms that he and his family have emigrated and indeed it’s not new that developers are departing these shores because of difficulty doing business in Ireland, and the main difficulty is they can’t secure the funds/loans needed to develop property. They act as consultants to those who do have cash, and they act as asset managers, and in a small number of cases they act as civil servant-developer hybrids as they develop their assets under NAMA’s close watch. But unless they can access funds, they will be spancelled in their original roles. So don’t be surprised if you come across the desperate plea “here give me a loan will ya!” for some time yet.

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