herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

Land League say Bertie HQ should go to homeless

Bertie Ahern arriving at St Luke's
Bertie Ahern arriving at St Luke's

New Land League member John Martin has called on Fianna Fail to hand over the keys of Bertie Aherns former headquarters, St Luke's, to the homeless.

The Drumcondra office was the former Taoiseach's base for much of his political career.

The building was bought by a trust of Mr Ahern's closest associates, dubbed the 'Drumcondra Mafia' in January 1988 for IR£56,000.

Ahern later turned the former doctor's surgery into a constituency office, with an apartment overhead where he occasionally stayed.

The trust fought Fianna Fail's attempt to claim ownership of the property, now on the market for almost €600,000, before conceding defeat in 2012.

The New Land League's Mr Martin has now said it is time for the party to "put their money where their mouth is" and offer the property to Dublin City Council in a bid to tackle the homeless crisis.

"It would make a lovely little hostel or overnight accommodation for homeless people, or people that are waiting to be housed in extreme emergency situations," he said.

The former Fianna Fail party member - who stood in the local elections in 1999 - said he had been in the building "many times" adding it had a "perfect layout" for such services.

The 1,900 square foot home, which stands in the heart of Drumcondra across from Mr Ahern's favorite watering-hole - Fagans - has been at the centre of controversy.

During questioning at the Mahon Tribunal, the ex-Fianna Fail leader admitted that he kept large amounts of cash there when he did not have a bank account.

Last year, Fianna Fail said it had no immediate plans to sell the property that once hosted US President Bill Clinton.

However, the party said this week they had decided to sell up following a review of their assets "across the country".

"The trustees of Fianna Fail have decided to sell this property. All aspects of the sale are being handled by Lisney Estate Agents," a spokesperson said.

The online ad for the premises describes it as a"prominent detached property suitable for a variety of uses".

hnews@herald.ie

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