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'lying idle' Dublin City Council to meet with CAB to discuss houses seized from mob getting handed over

One councillor said seized mob homes being allowed to fall into disrepair 'outrageous' as people remain on housing waiting lists

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Sean McGovern home - The house on Kildare Road has been left unused

Sean McGovern home - The house on Kildare Road has been left unused

Sean McGovern home - The house on Kildare Road has been left unused

DUBLIN CITY Council is to discuss with CAB the handing over of "all houses seized from criminals" in the capital, following a probe by the Sunday World.

Last December, we exposed how luxury homes confiscated from mobsters such as Liam Byrne and Sean McGovern had been allowed to go derelict in the south inner city after their seizures.

Pictures taken by this newspaper revealed how, in spite of the housing crisis, the houses in the much sought after Crumlin area remained boarded up and a reminder of the power once wielded by the Byrne Organised Crime Group.

Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn, who backed our campaign for the situation to be dealt with, this week submitted a motion to officials calling for immediate action on the 'appalling' situation.

At a meeting of Dublin City Council, Councillor Flynn proposed: "That this meeting of DCC (Dublin City Council) call on CAB (Criminal Assets Bureau) and the Minister for Justice to give all houses that are seized by CAB to Dublin City Council Housing Department.

"Further, that any other properties or buildings that could be suitable for housing development be also handed over to DCC within the Dublin region.

"It is outrageous that former homes, once owned by DCC, later acquired privately, that have now been seized by CAB are lying idle and in an appalling state while many of our citizens remain on the housing list and in emergency accommodation.

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Sean McGovern

Sean McGovern

Sean McGovern

"Some of these houses are in DCC housing estates and send out a negative message to many of those in the communities. It's time that DCC took these properties back in charge."

In her response, Senior Executive Officer within the Council's Housing Development section, Michelle Robinson confirmed the Council will speak to CAB about the councillor's motion.

"Dublin City Council would be happy to engage with the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Minister for Justice on this matter," she said.

"I would caution, however, that a blanket approach may not be applicable as the circumstances and particulars for each case will vary and the City Council would not necessarily be privy to relevant background information."

Two of the houses which have raised the ire of Councillor Flynn are the high-profile former council properties bought and renovated using drug money by Liam Byrne and Sean McGovern.

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The latter has already been purchased by the Council from CAB but remains boarded up and derelict while no property records are available for Byrne's former home although it is believed to remain in the ownership of CAB.

Cllr Flynn has been extremely critical of the Council and CAB for failing to put both properties back into immediate use following their seizure.

He believes that Byrne's address at Number 2 Raleigh Square, formerly described as "the crown jewel" of feared Byrne's criminal enterprise, should be taken back by the Council and offered to a drug treatment service for use as a 'rehabilitation centre.'

"It would be ideal for use as a house where recovering drug addicts could be housed after taking part in recovery courses in the likes of Coolmine or the Rutland Centre," he said.

The property, which is located just doors away from the home of Byrne's parents James 'Jaws' and Sadie, had languished on the open market at a price of €400,000 since May.

The property had originally been bought for just €250,000 in 2011.

It was registered to Liam's sister Maria Byrne, but her brother lived there and had been paying rent through his car business, LS Active Car Sales.

The upgrades to the mobster's home included a panic room, heavily fortified walls and a Jacuzzi. Most of the expensive fixtures and fittings were removed before the property was handed over to CAB in May last year.

At one stage, the house was valued at over €1m.

Liam Byrne was named by gardai in court as being at the head of a major criminal organisation dubbed the 'Byrne Organised Crime Group'.

The gangster's brother David Byrne was shot dead in Dublin's Regency Hotel in February 2016 in a brutal murder that greatly escalated the Kinahan/Hutch feud.

Under Operation Lamp, officers targeted €2.7m worth of assets including four homes worth €2m, 29 vehicles (€544,115), six designer watches (€83,750), two rings (€29,970), a bank account containing €36,760 and €34,840 in cash.

As part of their investigations, CAB officials claimed Byrne was at the "very top tier" of organised crime in Ireland. In submissions to the High Court, CAB outlined his links to Christy 'Dapper Don' Kinahan's cartel.

Cllr Flynn has also criticised Dublin City Council for failing to make any use of Sean McGovern's house at 219 Kildare Road.

The Sunday World revealed the council had purchased this property for an undisclosed sum more than 17 months ago.

"Properties of this nature, that were formerly Dublin City Council homes, that were acquired or bought by criminals should be handed back to the council by CAB and put to use for the immediate benefit of the community," Cllr Flynn said.

"The State should not be seeking to rent out or sell properties that have been bought or renovated using money from gangland crime.

"The properties should have been seized by the State on behalf of its citizens and they should immediately be put back into the use for the benefit of its citizens."

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