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Tycoon Olivia has world-class plan for top members' club Residence

THE new owner of Residence will be making a significant "structural investment" in the St Stephen's Green club in a bid to maintain its prestigious image.

As revealed in the Herald, the exclusive members club was last month taken over by multimillionaire businesswoman Olivia Gaynor Long after she bailed out the troubled Stokes brothers.

Earlier this year a receiver was appointed by the High Court on an application by Zurich Bank, which was owed €2.3m secured against charges on the club's premises.

Now its future is secure after the Irish-born entrepreneur stepped in to buy the celebrity haunt, a stomping ground for well-known stars such as Victoria Smurfit and Ryan Tubridy.

Operating under the new company name of Molana Ltd, a source has revealed how Killiney businesswoman has ambitious plans for the club.

"There's going to be an investment in the services and facilities available for the existing members and there's also going to be a structural investment, but that's much further down the line. It's still very early days," he said.





Delighted

Socialite twins Christian and Simon Stokes (34), will remain working at the club as part of the new arrangement, with Derek Phillips taking over as chief operations manager.

"I am delighted to have finalised the takeover of Residence," said Ms Gaynor Long. "My focus now is to build, with my team, on what is already in place and create a members' club of international standards here in the heart of our capital.

"We will be making a significant investment in the premises and facilities later this year and are at an advanced stage of planning.

"In the meantime, we are looking forward to enhancing the level of service to our members over the coming weeks and months and wish to thank for them for their continued custom."

Last January saw the Stokes brothers appearing in the High Court after it was revealed that the club they opened up in 2008 was facing bankruptcy.

It also emerged they had not been passing their 58 employees' tax and PRSI payments on the Revenue Commissioners, to whom they owed €1.2m. Mr Justice Peter Kelly described their behaviour as "delinquent", saying they had been "thieving" money owed to the Revenue.

mfinn@herald.ie