Claims made by Revenue in relation to Kerry animal welfare charity to be contested, court hears

Claims made by Revenue in relation to Kerry animal welfare charity to be contested, court hears

The CEO of Irish Mortgage Holder's Association David Hall will be contesting claims made by Revenue in a High Court application seeking freezing orders against a Kerry animal welfare charity.

Last week Revenue, in a bid to get payment of a revenue debt, secured temporary High Court orders restraining the Animal Heaven Animal Rescue charity reducing its assets below €191,000 or transferring its lands to another charity.

File image of David Hall
File image of David Hall

The orders, obtained on an ex-parte basis, were made against the trustees of the charity. Mr Hall was among four persons appointed in 2018 to the board of the charity on the nomination of the Charities Regulator.

The matter returned before Mr Justice Senan Allen today who was informed by Evan O'Donnell Bl for Mr Hall that his client wished to prepare a sworn statement in response to Revenue's application.

Counsel said that Mr Hall intends to provide the court with a sworn statement which he says will clear up a number of factual matters that will resolve the dispute.

Counsel added that Mr Hall has concerns over damage to his reputation arising out of the application.

Counsel said unrelated third parties not involved in the case had posted online about matter making incorrect allegations, including fraud, about Mr Hall.

In reply, Sally O'Neill Bl for Revenue said her side was happy to adjourn the matter until the affidavit had been filed and if necessary replied to.

Revenue would contest any suggestion that it had not acted properly in the matter, counsel added.

Counsel added that Revenue had been in contact with other alleged trustees, who were consenting to the injunction against them remaining in place until the full hearing of the action.

Mr Justice Allen agreed to adjourn the matter to a date in May.

The injunction will remain in place against all parties until then.

Previously the court heard that the charity has liabilities of some €191,000, of which €145,000 is owned to revenue.

A statement of affairs showed AHAR had about €275,000 excess of assets over liabilities and the bulk of those assets are the 37 acres in Co Kerry from which it operates.

Revenue sought the injunction over what it claims is a proposal to transfer the AHAR lands to another charity Athlone and West Midlands Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Athlone SPCA), and the trustees had unanimously voted to transfer the land.

Revenue sought the order after it claimed it did not receive an undertaking not to dissipate assets until the Revenue debt was discharged.

Revenue claims that audits of the charity carried out by the Revenue for 2015 and 2016 had uncovered cash withdrawals and payments for €149,071 with no records concerning those.

There were also alleged serious incidents of non-compliance with PAYE and PRSI, Revenue claims.

The court heard that in 2017 the Charities Regulator imposed certain conditions on AHAR over a failure to keep proper books and accounts.

Following a site visit by the regulator to AHAR in June 2018, there was a concern the charity was still not keeping proper books and accounts.

That lead to the regulator seeking to have Mr Hall and three other persons appointed to the board of the charity.

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