Court rules father and daughter have arguable defence to funds demand for €1.5m judgement

Court rules father and daughter have arguable defence to funds demand for €1.5m judgement

The High Court has ruled that a father and daughter have an arguable defence to financial fund's demand for judgment of €1.5m against them

In his judgement, Mr Justice Tony O Connor ruled that a demand by Promontoria Aran Ltd for payment against Patrick O'Reilly and his daughter Breda O'Reilly, who is based in the United States should go to a full plenary hearing of the court.

The fund brought the proceedings in respect of a loan it acquired from Ulster Bank, used to buy an apartment located at Herbert Park, Dublin which was put up as security for the loan.

Arising out of an alleged failure to satisfy a demand by the fund to repay monies due on the loan Promontoria sought summary judgement against the defendants, who are the registered owners of both the apartment and a car parking space.

Promontoria also sought orders and declarations including an order that the apartment be sold in default of payment of the alleged debt.

The application was opposed.

Ms O'Reilly who left Ireland permanently in 1994 told the court she never applied for a mortgage in Ireland, never banked with Ulster Bank, and has no obligation to the lender or its successor in title.

She also said she did not know she was a registered owner of the apartment till 2017 when the proceedings commenced.

Mr O'Reilly who did not deny ownership of the property claimed he has repaid all the debt due to Ulster Bank.

He also claimed that the fund's application was statute-barred, and the Promontoria had delayed in bringing the proceedings.

Promontoria argued that Mr O'Reilly did not exhibit the documentation to support his averment that the bank had been repaid in full.

In his ruling, the judge said he was not satisfied that neither Mr O'Reilly nor his daughter did not have arguable defences to Promontoria's claim, and dismissed the application for summary judgement.

The Judge said the court was exercising its summary judgment powers "with discernible caution."

In this decision he said he was doing no more than accepting that both defendants have alleged facts which could undermine what the fund may have thought to have been a simple matter when the case was commenced almost three years ago.

The fund he said has shown a certain resolve to avoid a plenary hearing, but he added: "there comes a stage when the summary process ought to be recognised as not appropriate in view of the established law."

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