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Luxury lifestyle of ex-IRA man jailed for post office raid

HE's the former IRA prisoner who ended up living the life of luxury on Dublin's Ailesbury Road.

But the story of Tom McFeely and his rise to wealth is no heartwarming tale of the one-time baddie turning into a goodie.

He may have left his violent ways behind years go, but his run-ins with the law continue.

McFeely's firm Coalport Building Company Ltd has been through the wars already this year.

In February, a liquidator was appointed to the company over €144,000 in unpaid VAT and PRSI but an order to wind it up was vacated the following month when the money was paid to the Revenue.

In the late 1970s, ex-IRA man McFeely was sentenced to 26 years in the Maze prison for a post office robbery. He also shot and wounded an RUC officer during a siege of a house in Derry.

A judge at Belfast City Commission Court told him in 1977: "I am satisfied that you are a dangerous young man. You are intelligent and vicious and you seem to be glorifying in your activity."



Conflict

However, McFeely only went on to serve 12 years. The Derryman, who is in his early 60s, was one of the IRA's H-Block hunger strikers, spending 53 days without food in 1980.

He shared a cell with Belfast IRA commander Brendan Hughes, who believed they were placed together because the authorities wanted to cause conflict in the H-Blocks.

The details emerged in a book, Voices from the Grave, compiled by veteran journalist Ed Moloney and were based on a series of interviews Hughes gave to a researcher for Boston College in 2001 and 2002.

Last April, McFeely was briefly jailed for the breaches of fire regulations at Priory Hall in North Dublin. He was placed in custody pending sentencing for the offences and later received a six-month suspended prison sentence and a €3,000 fine.

Dublin District Court heard that the apartment complex had a lack of automated opening vents in common areas, a lack of ventilation in the basement car parks and exposed gas pipes.

Counsel for Dublin City Council said evidence showed that defects had not been remedied despite six separate undertakings by Mr McFeely since December 2009.

Thanks to shrewd investments, McFeely's lifestyle now is one of luxury and privilege.

A resident of the upmarket Ailesbury Road in Dublin 4, he and his business partner Larry O'Mahony acquired Lowes Tavern in 2006. The company held a licensing agreement to use an 18-acre car park close to The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght.

As a result of their acquisition, McFeely and O'Mahony had an interest in the extension of the mall into the car park.

However, in 2009, McFeely was accused by developer Noel Smyth of blocking the redevelopment of The Square, delaying the provision of 6,000 jobs.

In 2006, he was issued with a bill worth millions of euro by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

comurphy@herald.ie