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Rolex watch stored in safe at Department of Taoiseach despite requests to sell it for charity

The watch was gifted to Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl when he was visiting the United Arab Emirates in late 2018.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl and the watch in question
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl and the watch in question
Image: RollingNews.ie/Ceann Comhairle's office

A ROLEX WATCH worth nearly €8,000 has been left stored in a safe at the Department of the Taoiseach for almost two years despite requests for it to be sold for charity.

The watch was gifted to Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl when he was visiting the United Arab Emirates in late 2018.

However, strict rules forbid the Ceann Comhairle from retaining such a valuable gift and it was handed over to the Department of the Taoiseach for safe-keeping.

Records released by the department reveal they have made no further plans for the watch despite one collector expressing interest in purchasing it.

Ó Fearghaíl had requested that the €7,700 Rolex Milgauss be sold, and the money donated to the charity Trócaire.

However, even when a watch collector contacted the department asking for information on any future auction, he was told there were still no plans for its sale.

In an email to Secretary General Martin Fraser, the watch collector said: “As it is now over a year since your instructions were sought, I request that I be informed if a decision on the matter has been made, what that decision is, and if arrangements have been put in place for the disposal of the watch if it is to be disposed of in accordance with the reported wishes of the Ceann Comhairle.

“If a decision has not been made, can you please advise when such a decision will be made, and who has custody of the watch now. I am a collector of watches and wish to be informed of any sale, auction, or disposal by any other means of the said watch.”

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In response, the department said: “I refer to our telephone call yesterday evening, and confirm that at present there are no plans to sell the Rolex watch gifted to the Ceann Comhairle. If that changes, we will let you know.”

Asked again this week if any further steps had been taken for its disposal, a department spokesman said: “The watch remains in safe storage at the department.”

The watch itself is a Rolex Milgauss of a model that has been manufactured by the world-famous Swiss watchmakers since the 1950s.

It was specifically developed for scientists because it can withstand magnetic fields and was best known as the watch of choice for staff working at the famous CERN nuclear research lab in Geneva.

About the author:

Ken Foxe

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