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Agencies & People

Purplebricks co-founder caught in NI’s political Brexit turmoil

Millionaire Kenny Bruce's support for a local politician, who has helped him grow Larne FC, has come under scrutiny.

Nigel Lewis

kenny bruce purplebricks

Purplebricks co-founder Kenny Bruce has become embroiled in Northern Ireland politics after it was revealed that he had lobbied local politicians in support of a council leader under fire following the Brexit border checks controversy.

Bruce, who bought a football club in his family’s home town of Larne to the north of Belfast, is considered a local hero after reviving the club’s fortunes with the £6.4 million he earned from the sale of Purplebricks on the AIM London stock exchange in 2018.

As well as funding new players for the club, he has paid for a new stand at it stadium and is opening a hotel in the town. He received an MBE in last year’s Honours List in part for his involvement in the revival of the football club.

Bruce has had the support of Mid and East Antrim council and its chief executive Anne Donaghy as he has sought to bolter Larne and it’s football club’s development. He is also director of his brother’s challenger portal, Boomin.

Letters

But the 50-year-old has been criticised after he wrote to several local politicians and also a Stormont committee in support of Donaghy after she highlighted the governance issues created by the Brexit deal at

Northern Ireland’s ports – a political issue that has led to street violence and the recent ousting of DUP leader Arlene Foster, who had been seen as not critical enough of the Brexit deal and its consequences for the country.

“I recently reached out to a small number of elected representatives regarding Anne Donaghy,” Bruce told local media.

“Having experienced working alongside Anne in her capacity of CEO at Mid and East Antrim council over the last few years I felt I was in a position to vouch for her professionalism, her dedication to the role and all the people of the borough.”

May 17, 2021

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