Bankrupt farmer’s accounts frozen

The High Court has placed temporary freezing orders on bank accounts where cheques totalling over €85,000 made out to Co Monaghan farmer John Hoey were allegedly lodged after he was declared a bankrupt.

The freezing orders were sought by official assignee Chris Lehane, who is in charge of Mr Hoey’s bankruptcy, and who, in July last, directed that five cattle on Mr Hoey’s farm be shot dead by members of the Defence Forces.

Barrister Rudi Neuman Shanahan, counsel for the official assignee, told Mr Justice Tony O’Connor yesterday that the proceedings had been brought because of fears that the actions might be an attempt to put monies beyond the reach of the office of Mr Lehane.

Mr Hoey, from Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan, was declared bankrupt last February on foot of a petition brought by John Kelly Fuels Ltd for €262,000.

Mr Lehane had said in July that most of the cattle herd had been removed from the farm but five animals had been running wild and dangerous, and after all possibilities had been exhausted, members of the Defence Forces had been brought in to shoot them.

Judge O’Connor granted Mr Lehane interim orders freezing funds held in accounts at branches of Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland where a number of cheques had been lodged.

Mr Neuman Shanahan said that following investigations the assignee had discovered Mr Hoey had greatly reduced his herd both before and after his bankruptcy.

More than 100 cattle had been sold for slaughter to Kepak at Clonee, Co Meath. Following the adjudication of bankruptcy Hoey had received several cheques as payment for the cattle.

Counsel said the cheques had been stamped “A/c payee only” had been lodged into the accounts of other parties. Cheques totalling over €55,000 had been lodged to accounts in the name of Navan Fruit Co Ltd at an Ulster Bank branch in Co Louth.

Cheques totalling €31,000, which had also been made out to Mr Hoey, had been lodged to an account in the name of Tony Walsh trading as “Breathnach Bargains” at a branch of Bank of Ireland in Dublin.

The matter was adjourned until September 12.


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