Ex-Fine Gael TD sold his nursing home to charity he runs

A former Fine Gael TD sold a nursing home he co-owned to a charity despite being one of its directors.

Meath-based auctioneer and businessman John V Farrelly told The Ditch there was “nothing inappropriate” about the deal. However he refused to say if the charity’s other directors knew he co-owned the Kilmainhamwood, county Meath nursing home at the time of the sale last year.

Charity chairperson Robert McKinley, when asked if the charity directors were aware of Farrelly’s stake, said “I don't think so. I can’t be sure.”

‘I've no more comments to make on it’

When John V Farrelly was a Fine Gael councillor for the Kells electoral area in Meath, he was appointed a director of the Kilmainhamwood Area Development Association CLG (KADA).

KADA was established in 1999 and provides daycare and sheltered accommodation for the elderly living in the north county Meath village. It has charitable tax status and is registered with the Charities Regulator.

Along with Farrelly, a TD from 1981-1992 and 1997-2002, former Fine Gael Meath East accounting officer John Keogan is also a KADA director and serves as the charity’s treasurer.

At some point last year KADA bought a nursing home, according to its last accounts filed with the CRO in November 2022. Farrelly had owned the 43-bed nursing home since 2001, along with nine other co-owners.

Each of the co-owners held a ten percent share in the property according to Land Registry records. There were two judgment mortgages registered against Farrelly’s share but the last of these was cancelled in August 2021, before the sale, according to the Land Registry. KADA has been the registered owner of the nursing home since November 2022.

The Ditch contacted Farrelly today.

The Ditch: “Do you think it was appropriate for a charity you are a director of to buy a property that you were a part owner of?”

JVF: “Well there were ten owners.”

The Ditch: “But you owned 10 percent of it.”

JVF: “Yes.”

The Ditch: “Okay, were the other directors of the charity aware that you were an owner?”

JVF: “The bottom line is that there was a charge against that so there was no beneficial interest or beneficial benefit to me.”

The Ditch: “Which charge are you referring to – the ones that were cleared before it was sold? Doesn’t seem to be any charges on it when it was purchased by Kilmainhamwood Area Development Association.”

JVF: “I've no more comments to make on it. I've done nothing inappropriate.”

The Ditch: “So you think it was appropriate?”

Farrelly hung up.

Mowlan Healthcare, an unlimited company controlled by a Guernsey-based entity, runs the nursing home. Farrelly was a director of Mowlam Healthcare from 2001 to 2003.

The 2021 KADA accounts show the charity received €67,700 in annual funding from the HSE and has a capital loan of €1,954,123 from Meath County Council.

Farrelly was a senator from 1993 to 1997 and a member of Meath County Council from 1999 to 2014, serving as the county’s cathaoirleach in his last year as a councillor. He runs Navan-based estate agents DNG Royal County and was previously chairperson of the Meath East Fine Gael branch, where party colleague and ally Helen McEntee is based.

KADA chairperson Robert McKinley declined to comment when asked how much the charity paid for the nursing home.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors