A Fianna Fáil minister failed to declare his sale of a property he bought from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) to Westmeath County Council.
Junior minister for trade promotion Robert Troy, a former Westmeath county councillor, sold the semi-detached house to the council for a record fee – the highest price achieved for a property in the estate by €19,000.
The Ditch can also reveal that Troy’s former partner declared she was the legal owner of the Mullingar property for the purpose of a planning application – despite her name never appearing on Land Registry documents.
TDs are legally required under ethics legislation to declare any contract with a public body for the sale of property worth more than €6,500.
Troy never declared sale despite legal requirement
In 2005 CAB obtained a High Court order allowing it to seize and sell the assets of north Dublin drug lord Sean Dunne. These assets included a four-bedroom, semi-detached house in Mullingar’s Ashefield estate.
Longford-Westmeath TD Robert Troy, then a 24-year-old local councillor, bought it from CAB in 2006.
According to his annual Dáil declarations, landlord Troy let the property until he sold it to Westmeath County Council.
The council bought it in June 2018 for €230,000 at a time when similar houses in the estate were selling for €180,000 to €200,000.
A year and half after the sale, another four-bedroom property in the estate sold for just €193,500. No other semi-detached property in the estate has sold for more than Troy’s, with the recent sale of number 139 in June for €211,000 being the closest contender.
Property Price Register records show the council claims it bought the property for below market value – something that it refuses to explain.
Troy has never declared the sale of the property in his Dáil returns despite being legally required to do so under the second schedule, section of the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995.
The act requires Dáil members to declare the sale of any goods or services to public bodies “if the value… exceeded €6,500”.
Former partner claims she was legal owner
A former partner of Troy made two planning applications related to the property before the sale.
In July 2010 Elaine Hoban successfully applied to Westmeath County Council for permission to build a granny flat on the grounds of the house. She applied again in February 2012 for permission to build a two-storey property in place of the previously approved granny flat. The development never went ahead and planning permission expired in 2017.
For the first application Hoban declared she was the legal owner of the property despite her name never appearing on Land Registry records.
This isn’t the first time Troy was involved in flogging property to Westmeath County Council.
He and a business partner in 2019 unsuccessfully tried to sell the council four flats for more than €1 million – almost twice their market value – with the council trying to keep records of this attempt secret.
Last week The Ditch reported that Troy lets a one-bed flat he owns in Dublin for €1,550 a month – 72 percent above HAP rates.
Troy, Westmeath County Council and Fianna Fáil declined to comment.