An ex-IRA hunger-striker turned property developer will this week be at the centre of a legal battle over the stalled €500m Tallaght Square shopping centre development.
The case, which opens in Dublin's High Court on Tuesday, is expected to last eight weeks. Prominent solicitor/property developer Noel Smyth is seeking €130m damages from former IRA man Tom McFeely, his business partner Larry O'Mahony and developer Liam Carroll.
Smyth alleges breach of contract and loss of tax breaks and profits relating to delays in the shopping centre. The claim for damages will be strongly contested.
In his first ever media interview, Tom McFeely spoke to the Sunday Tribune about his IRA activities, his 53-day H-Block hunger-strike and how he made his millions.
He arrived in Dublin as an ex-prisoner with £240 in his pocket. McFeely said he remained a republican but was disillusioned with Sinn Féin leaders who had "destroyed the IRA".
The issues in the High Court battle go back to 2005 when McFeely and O'Mahony bought a company which held a licence agreement with South Dublin County Council to use an 18-acre car park close to Tallaght Square. The shopping centre, of which Smyth is now a major share-holder, cannot be expanded into the car park without the licence. McFeely and O'Mahony entered negotiations with Smyth to reach an agreement. Phil Flynn, ex-Sinn Féin vice-president and then chairman of the Bank of Scotland (Ireland), acted as a broker.
Smyth accuses McFeely and O'Mahony of negotiating in bad faith and not honouring an agreement, which they deny. As the talks dragged on, McFeely and O'Mahony claim that, facing potential receivership, they brought in billionaire Liam Carroll to help secure a €66m loan.
Smyth, best known as Ben Dunne's solicitor at the tribunal investigating Charlie Haughey's finances, had previous business rivalries with Carroll.