herald

Saturday 30 August 2014

O'Gara says he foresaw the recession, but now a crisis looms for his own business

DUBLIN South candidate Noel O'Gara (right), who claims he predicted the country's economic collapse, is facing his own financial difficulties.



The businessman has been mired in controversy since his purchase of Ranelagh's Dartmouth Square in 2005.

Now, Dublin City Council has issued Mr O'Gara with a statutory notice to pay a €37,700 legal bill arising from court actions over the park.

The Independent candidate, who is vying with Fine Gael's George Lee in the leafy suburbs, must pay the tab within 21 days or face having his company Marble and Granite Tiles wound up.



bankruptcy

Mr O'Gara has claimed he foresaw Ireland's looming financial crisis in 2007 when he ran in the general election in four constituencies.

"I warned the people two years ago that this country was heading for bankruptcy," he said.

When asked would he be taken seriously having run for election in so many different areas, Mr O'Gara said: "I think Irish people are intelligent people and I'm appealing to the intelligent people -- I know there's a lot of idiots out there and a lot of control freaks -- but I believe that Irish people want to be independent people and they're the people I'm addressing."

Mr O'Gara has been given a deadline of June 5 -- the day of the byelection -- to settle the legal bill.

Labour councillor Oisin Quinn said the council should not let up. "If he does not pay within the deadline, the council should not hesitate to wind up his company and liquidate his assets," Mr Quinn added.

Council bosses have clashed with the Athlone businessman since he bought Dartmouth Square for a paltry €10,000 four years ago. Up to then, the square was maintained by the council as a public amenity.



caravans

The businessman was forced by a Circuit Court order to remove three caravans from the park in 2007.

Mr O'Gara had been restrained from using the park for the advertising, sale or display of tiles.

In February last year, city councillors scored a major victory by declaring the land an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA).

This effectively blocked any future attempt by Mr O'Gara to turn the Victorian square into a car park.

comurphy@herald.ie

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