Robert Troy asked minister about approval for state body’s new premises – now provided by brother-in-law

Ex-junior minister Robert Troy intervened in the Dáil to ask education minister Norma Foley for an update on new headquarters for a state body – which is now being leased from his brother-in-law. 

Troy asked for this update the same day his brother-in-law’s company became the registered owner of the building. The Fianna Fáil man admitted to The Ditch, “I knew he owned the building soon after he purchased it.”

TDs are required under ethics law to declare an interest in any matter they raise in the Dáil if it could potentially benefit a relative, according to the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995. Troy however claimed to The Ditch, “I didn't have an interest to declare.”

The Longford-Westmeath TD resigned as minister of state for trade promotion in 2022 after The Ditch published a series of articles about his undeclared property interests. 

‘The old Bank of Ireland building in Mullingar, owned by Troy’s brother-in-law’s company’

Balroe Enterprises Ltd became the registered owner of the old Bank of Ireland building on Pearse Street in Mullingar, county Westmeath on 2 February, 2023. This followed news reports from the previous November that a sale had been agreed. 

The company is owned by Robert Troy’s brother-in-law Ronan Ginnell. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on Ginnell’s part.

The same day this company became owners of the property, Troy asked Norma Foley in the Dáil about the status of the Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board’s (LWETB) application to move to a new headquarters. 

Troy asked Foley to “provide an update on the Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board’s application for a new headquarters” in a Dáil written question.

“My department has sought additional information from the ETB in relation to this proposal and will give further consideration to the application following receipt of this information,” said Foley in response to Troy.

Last week LWETB announced its new premises, the old Bank of Ireland building in Mullingar, owned by Troy’s brother-in-law’s company, Balroe Enterprises Ltd. 

The board said the Department of Education had approved in principle to sign a lease for the property and expected the board to move into the building by January next year.

Troy told The Ditch, “I knew an agreement was made with LWETB when it was announced on social media last week.”

A number of politicians sit on the board of LWETB, including former Fianna Fáil senator Donie Cassidy and councillor Aoife Davitt. 

The Department of Education, LWETB – as well as chairperson Davitt – delined to comment

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors