British peer buys €2.5m West Cork mansion owned by ex-CEO of AIB

A British peer and former 10 Downing St adviser to Gordon Brown, Wilf Stevenson, has just bought the West Cork home of former AIB chief executive David Duffy, Glebe House, for close to €2.5m.

British peer buys €2.5m West Cork mansion owned by ex-CEO of AIB

The modernised mansion, a 10,000sq ft Georgian house on nine acres with frontage to the Ilen river sold after a series of price drops, down from even-higher price hopes of €5m in back in 2013, to €3.7m, and, a year ago, it was marked down to €2.5m.

Ironically, Mr Stevenson was chairperson of the UK’s Foundation for Credit Counselling from 2011 to 2015, a period when it extended its services to Ireland, operating here now as Step Change Debt Charity.

He is married to construction and property lawyer Elizabeth Ann Minogue, who has West Cork roots in Glandore and who represents clients such as British Land, Hines, and the Tate.

The widely experienced Labour peer Mr Stevenson was educated in Scotland, was policy advisor to Gordon Brown for several years, and currently is the opposition whip in the House of Lords. He is shadow spokesman on areas as diverse as business, skills and innovation, and culture, media, and sport.

The lord Stevenson of Balmacara was a director of the British Film Institute for 10 years, up to 1997, which may come in handy, as his new West Cork neighbours along the Ilen in Skibbereen include the financier William Bollinger, movie producer and educator David Puttnam, and actor Jeremy Irons.

Like Jeremy Irons’ own restored peach-coloured Kilcoe Castle, Glebe House has a bright coloured render finish — pink-hued, in the case of this c €2.5m purchase.

Selling agent Maeve McCarthy of Charles P McCarthy Skibbeen, jointly with Savills, confirmed that contracts had been signed for an undisclosed price but refused to confirm the identity of the purchaser.

The deal, signed over the weekend, sees yet another colourful chapter of ownership for Glebe House. The sales details for Glebe House claim a link to the Stuart clan, one-time kings of Scotland, it has served as glebe for a Rev Stewart, and as a drug treatment centre for young addicts from Central Europe, called La Patriarch.

It was next owned by IT entrepreneur Leonard Donnelly, who sold it in the early 2000s for about €3m to banker David Duffy, who was at the time based in Amsterdam.

Mr Duffy poured major additional sums into Glebe House, working part-time from a 500sq ft executive office here in West Cork, with a pontoon for his boat at the garden’s river boundary, before taking up the helm at AIB.

David Duffy lead the turnaround in State-owned AIB’s fortunes, before leaving to take a similar role at Scotland’ s Clydesdale Bank, which he brought to a €2.1bn IPO floatation last month, earning him millions in bonuses.

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