Young developer threatened Central Bank with attack ads

Greg Kavanagh promised "a Ryanair-style campaign" to make the former governor's position "untenable"...

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The Central Bank on Dublin's Dame Street | File photo | Image:

Greg Kavanagh, one of the country’s youngest property developers, issued a series of intimidatory emails to the Central Bank and its former governor Professor Patrick Honohan in 2014 and 2015, according to correspondence sought under FOI and published by the Irish Times.

The Wicklow businessman had asked to meet Honohan to express his views about the proposed sale of distressed loans and was informed that the then-governor was too busy to meet him.

He replied:

“I promise you if one of these loans is bought by a European bank after yesterday’s date, I will spend tens of millions in advertisements across Ireland and Europe highlighting the shortcomings of the Irish Central Bank.

"I will spend so much that the governor’s position will become untenable."

Previously, in late 2014, he had emailed Honohan:

“Due to lack of action on your behalf, we were in the process of carrying out a Ryanair-style campaign to embarrass both the banks and the Central Bank into action, where you would actually put proper practices in place to allow for a ‘proper functioning market’.

“From the announcement you just made in relation to mortgages, it is abundantly clear the Central Bank do not understand what the basic principles of a properly functioning market are.

"You don’t need to be Einstein to understand what a proper functioning market should actually look like.”

When contacted, the 31-year-old told the Irish Times he was very passionate about what he did and sometimes expressed himself in a very robust way.

"With the passage of time," he said, "I have learned to take a more considered tone, while continuing to feel strongly about the negative impact the mortgage interest rules are having on the property market.”

Kavanagh is the founder of New Generation Homes, which spent over €300 million during the recession buying Dublin development sites for rock-bottom prices.