Japan hotels chain family new owners of Haughey estate
THE former palatial home of Charles Haughey is now in Japanese ownership after it was bought by a leading hotel-owning family.
Abbeville, the 18th Century 14-bedroom mansion on 250 acres at Kinsealy in north Dublin, was the home of the former Taoiseach for 37 years until his death in 2006.
The Nishida family, who own the Toyoko Inn chain of more than 200 hotels, bought the mansion more than a year ago, but their identity was only revealed yesterday.
Abbeville is a listed building and was the venue for several top-level meetings on national and international affairs during Haughey's time in power.
Several scenes from the RTE drama series Charlie, portraying incidents at Haughey's home, were filmed at Palmerstown House in Naas, Co Kildare, which doubled as Abbeville.
Toyoko Inn intends to expand into Europe with a strategy for hotels across the EU.
It has plans to locate its European headquarters in Dublin.
The head of the company, Norimasa Nishida, who has sponsored a GAA team in Japan for several years, has not revealed his plans for Abbeville.
Planning permission had previously been granted to convert it into a 70-bedroom hotel, but that has since lapsed.
Toyoko Inn is known as a no-frills, three-star hotels operator and employs more than 8,000 people.
Former Irish ambassador to Japan Brendan Scannell is chairman of the group's international division, Toyoko Inn International.
The Nishida family bought the entire Kinsealy estate for €5.5m - a fraction of the €45m the Haughey family received in 2004 from the Manor Park home-building firm which later succumbed to the Irish property crash.
The property was sold by the receivers, Kavanagh Fennells.