Bid to repossess developer’s €6m home

Developer Laurence O’Mahony, and his wife, Christine Connolly, have been told that the Trustee in Bankruptcy in Britain, where he declared himself bankrupt, will not oppose a claim by National Asset Loan Management to re-possess the couple’s €6 million Ballsbridge home.

Mr O’Mahony told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday he had been adjudicated a bankrupt in England in April 2011 and on being discharged from bankruptcy a year later had been “discharged from all bankruptcy debt”. He claimed his €6.5m liability to NALM was a bankruptcy debt and accordingly on the date of his discharge from bankruptcy in April 2012 he had been released from this liability.

Michael McDowell, SC, who appeared with Robert Fitzpatrick for the debt recovery agency, sought an order for possession of Mugnano, No 7 Shrewsbury Road, Ballsbridge, against which four mortgages totalling €6.75m had initially been granted by Irish Nationwide Building Society. The court heard that the last payment on the mortgages was made in 2010 and €6.5m was still outstanding on the debt.

Christine Connolly said she had resided in No 7 since Dec 1999 and had married Mr O’Mahony in Jun 2004. In an affidavit she said that in 1999 she had spent €60,000 from personal savings on home improvements; €50,000 from savings in 2005 on refurbishments; about €180,000 on further major refurbishments in 2008/9 and in Sep 2010 had paid €60,000 to Irish Nationwide towards repayment of the mortgages.

Mr O’Mahony said his wife, who lives in No 7 with their three children, had a significant equitable interest in the home. He accepted his bankruptcy discharge did not prejudice any security held by NALM, if valid, over his family home.

Barristers Seamus Breen, for Mr O’Mahony, and Frank Beatty, for Ms Connolly, said they had received from Mr McDowell just before the court sat a “potentially game changing” letter from the UK Trustee in Bankruptcy stating he had no interest in the property. The letter stated, because No 7 was so heavily indebted, the Trustee, in whom the property was vested under the English bankruptcy, had no interest in defending a claim for possession and was willing to have such an order made by the Irish court.

The matter was adjourned.

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