Paul Williams: ‘Why Celtic Tiger playboy is stalked by claims of the Border Fox’

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Paul Williams: ‘Why Celtic Tiger playboy is stalked by claims of the Border Fox’


James Mansfield Jr. Photo: Collins Courts
James Mansfield Jr. Photo: Collins Courts
Dessie O’Hare. Picture: Collins

The sensational claim in the Special Criminal Court that the notorious terrorist Dessie O’Hare told gardaí he was hired by businessman Jim Mansfield Jnr to evict an employee from his home has made for uncomfortable reading for the one-time Celtic Tiger playboy.

The court heard the 62-year-old former INLA killer, dubbed ‘The Border Fox’, made the allegation when he turned himself in.

O’Hare then admitted savagely assaulting one man and falsely imprisoning a second man and his family at Rathcoole and Saggart in west Dublin on June 9, 2015.

He is back behind bars after pleading guilty to a savage assault on John Roche and also falsely imprisoning Martin Byrne, his wife and son. Another notorious INLA member, Declan “Whacker” Duffy, was last year sentenced to six years for the offences.

The claims by O’Hare that he was hired by Mansfield junior to evict Mr Byrne, who worked for 20 years as a security provider for his father, has placed the businessman firmly back in the spotlight.

Mr Mansfield Jnr issued a statement denying the link, saying it was “untrue and without any foundation whatsoever”.

He has also threatened legal action against RTÉ over what he says were defamatory remarks linking him to the former INLA man on the ‘Prime Time’ programme. RTÉ denies that it defamed Mr Mansfield Jnr.

The businessman, like his father before him, has been no stranger to controversy down the years.

The billionaire’s son first came to prominence as a Celtic Tiger playboy who was a regular on Dublin’s upmarket social scene, especially following a relationship with tragic celebrity model Katy French.

After his father’s death in January 2014, Jim Mansfield took over control of the scrappy remnants of his father’s collapsed property empire. It was to bring him no end of trouble.

In May 2014 a wedding at the Finnstown Hotel in Lucan where Mr Mansfield worked as a manager was evacuated after gardaí discovered a large bomb in a car parked in the grounds.

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Gardaí suspected the lethal device was linked to Republican dissidents and was being stored on the grounds without the knowledge of the hotel staff or management.

Then in October Mr Mansfield denied a report that his life had been threatened by criminals associated with Traveller gang boss ‘Fat Andy’ Connors. He told the ‘Sunday World’: “Is my life in danger? I’d pay no heed. I haven’t done anything on anybody.”

He also denied he had any connections to organised crime. “We are not involved in organised crime. We are not drug dealers,” he said.

In January 2015, the Finnstown Hotel and apartments at Citywest were raided as part of a major money laundering investigation spearheaded by the CAB.

Then a month later he lost an appeal against summary judgment orders for €6.32m against him and others over unpaid loans to buy development lands in Co Meath.

He had argued unsuccessfully that he was dyslexic and could not read properly and thus had signed loan agreements that he did not understand.

But there was more bad news in store for Mr Mansfield Jnr.

As a result of the garda raids in January 2015 both he and his brother PJ were both charged in connection with the seizure of ammunition.

The trial of PJ collapsed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Judge Cormac Quinn told the jury the prosecution had not proved how many rounds of ammunition Patrick James Mansfield was entitled to possess.

He directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict on day three of the trial.

During the trial, the jury heard evidence that PJ Mansfield was an authorised member of a gun club and a person “of good character”.

And the charges against Jim Jnr were dropped by the DPP before the trial proceeded, with Mr Mansfield telling a reporter he intended suing the Garda and DPP for malicious prosecution.

And that episode was followed by the arrest of Dessie O’Hare and other dissident Republicans which culminated with the hearing in the Special Criminal Court this week.

It is all a far cry from the days when Jim Mansfield Snr presided over a massive business empire purchasing hotels, stately homes and an airport.

The seed capital came from his judicious investment in buying scrapped military hardware left after the Falklands War in 1982.

The jewel in the crown of his empire was the Citywest Hotel and apartment complex at Saggart, Co Dublin, and Weston aerodrome in the same area.

Mansfield was one of the first of the country’s business elite to buy a private jet.

However, the empire crumbled with the collapse of the economy in 2008 and Nama took possession of the hotel complex which was later sold for €30m.

In the latter years of his life, Mansfield Snr rebuffed allegations that he was a major player in organised crime and drugs after his private jet was at the centre of a major heroin seizure by police in Belgium in 2006.

A spokesman at the time said the businessman was shocked by the development.

And James Mansfield Snr later told the ‘Sunday Independent’ that there were categorically no drugs in his business.

“I’ve heard the rumours, but they don’t bother me in the slightest.

“It’s a load of absolute nonsense. A lot of it is down to jealousy,” he said.

Irish Independent


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