Clare man has debts of nearly €60m written off after court approves insolvency deal

Enda Patrick Whelan of College Grove, Ennis, Co Clare will make a payment of approximately €50,000 to his creditors.

Clare man has debts of nearly €60m written off after court approves insolvency deal

A Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) has been approved by the High Court allowing a Co Clare man write down almost all of his €60m debts.

At the High Court today, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey approved the PIA in respect of Enda Patrick Whelan of College Grove, Ennis, Co Clare.

Under the arrangement, Mr Whelan will make a payment of approximately €50,000 to his creditors.

Mr Whelan's creditors include National Asset Loan Management (NALM) which is a company of Nama, which was owed some €56.4m arising out of personal guarantees he had given in respect in respect of four companies owned by his family.

The firms were all part of the Whelan Group of companies, which were involved in the construction industry, and had got into difficulties following the economic crash.

He gave the guarantees when the companies sought to enter examinership, but that process was ultimately unsuccessful.

The companies had taken out loans with the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank.

He also owed €1.46m to Bank of Scotland and €1.44m to Cabot Asset Purcashes Ireland, which had both secured mortgage judgements for those respective amounts against Mr Whelan's family home.

He also had a further unsecured debt of €905,000 which was owed to Everyday Finance Ltd.

Under the PIA Mr Whelan will make a payment of approximately €50,00 to his creditors. That payment is to be made in the next 12 weeks, the judge was told.

Counsel for Mr Whelan, Keith Farry BL , told the court that while Nama had some initial objections to the PIA, it was now consenting to its approval after certain alterations to the arrangement had been agreed.

One of the conditions was that there would be an effective 12 months supervisory period in relation to the PIA, counsel said.

Counsel said that Mr Whelan's Personal Insolvency Practioner Mr Jim Stafford was satisfied that the PIA should be approved. Mr Whelan's creditors would do better under the PIA than compared to a bankruptcy situation, counsel said.

Counsel told the court that under the PIA the creditors will receive a very small amount in respect of what is owed from Mr Whelan. The amounts will range from 1.3 cents in the Euro to just 0.01 cent in the Euro.

However, if Mr Whelan was to be adjudicated bankrupt then the creditors would get nil, counsel said.

Counsel said that under the PIA Mr Whelan and his family will retain their principal private residence, which is a three-bedroomed house that his client co-owns with his wife.

Mr Whelan will also continue to make mortgage repayments on his home. In addition, the judgement obtained against Mr Whelan are to be deregistered on the successful completion of the PIA, counsel said.

Eithne Corry Bl for Nama said her client was, after initially voicing its reservations about the PIA, consenting to its approval.

After considering the application Mr Justice Sanfey said he was satisfied that the PIA should be approved.

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