Johnny Ronan seeks millions from Fortress over Ballsbridge deal

Developer claims he is owed €3.3m tied to Fibonacci Square office complex

Johnny Ronan has filed proceedings in the High Court seeking a €3.3 million judgment against a company linked to his former backer, Fortress Investment Group.

Mr Ronan claims that he is owed the money as part of a deal he made with Fortress in 2022 concerning the Fibonacci Square office block complex in Ballsbridge.

As part of that deal, Mr Ronan’s Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) swapped its stake in Fibonacci Square with Fortress in 2022, with Fortress handing over its interest in Waterfront South Central, a site on the Dublin quays.

Mr Ronan claims in his legal filings that the deal included a provision that he was entitled to 75 per cent of any business interruption claim made in respect of Fibonacci Square. He says that such a claim was made and paid out in March 2024.


That claim was worth €5 million, he says in his court papers, of which he is entitled to €3.3 million, and has filed proceedings against an Isle of Man-based entity called Aquela Limited.

In his filings, Mr Ronan claims that Aquela owes him the €3.3 million “which despite demand, the defendant has failed, refused or neglected to discharge”. Aquela has denied that it owes the money.

Mr Ronan has already made a formal demand for the money in the Isle of Man, where Aquela is incorporated, but has now moved to sue the Fortress subsidiary in Ireland.

What's behind the recent surge in housing construction here?

Listen | 32:03

Fortress Group did not respond to questions from The Irish Times. A company spokesman previously said Aquela “disputes that there is any amount owing to Mr Ronan” under the 2022 agreement.

The current High Court proceedings are the latest in a much wider legal dispute between Mr Ronan and Fortress, which effectively helped to refinance Mr Ronan’s debts in 2021.

Last year, proceedings initiated by RGRE were admitted to the Commercial Court in Dublin. In those proceedings, Mr Ronan’s companies alleged that Fortress entities failed to engage with his company as it sought to refinance its debt facilities.

The Ronan-related companies allege breach of contract and unlawful interference with contractual relations, among other claims.

The claims are denied by Fortress, which has appointed receivers over a portfolio of Mr Ronan’s assets, which have since been put on the market.

Mr Ronan is also in the process of consensually selling several other assets, including Bewley’s Cafe, which are unrelated to the dispute with Fortress.