Christine Connolly gets €9k a month

 Christine Connolly: Sought €3,000 a month for rent.

The wife of discharged bankrupt developer Larry O’Mahony is to be given €9,000-a-month for the family to live on after applying to the High Court.

The allowance is to come out of €1m frozen monies pending a court ruling whether State-owned IBRC has any claim to it.

Christine Connolly claims she owns the monies from which the expenses are being paid and had sought living expenses of €10,000-a-month.

This included €3,000 to €3,500 monthly costs of renting a four-bedroom home in Dublin 4; €1,644 school fees and extra-curricular expenses for her three children; about €820 to cover monthly car expenses; and €165 for golf subscription.

That sum was opposed by IBRC, whose counsel, Cian Ferriter, said that while Ms Connolly and her husband Mr O’Mahony — a former business partner of Priory Hall developer Thomas McFeely — had “lived a Celtic Tiger lifestyle” when they had wealth, they did not have that any more and should adjust accordingly.

While IBRC accepted the relevant law provides for payment of living expenses to fund the lifestyle to which the relevant person was reasonably accustomed, IBRC was conscious, if its claim to the frozen monies was upheld, the expenses were being funded by the taxpayer, counsel said.

Martin Hayden, for Ms Connolly, said the expenses sought were reasonable and his client had reduced the family outgoings.

IBRC previously agreed to expenses of €6,500 a month and Ms Connolly wanted an additional sum of €3,750 monthly to cover costs including renting a property for her family who must leave their home on Dublin’s Shrewsbury Rd shortly as it had been repossessed by Nama and sold, Mr Hayden said.

The debt on Shrewsbury Rd far exceeded what it was sold for and a High Court stay on the July repossession order to allow them find alternative accommodation would expire on Dec 1, he added.

Mr Justice George Birmingham said Ms Connolly had last June sought monthly living expenses of €8,176 — not including rent as the family were then still living in Shrewsbury Rd — and that sum was reduced, by agreement of both sides, to €6,500.

Ms Connolly was now seeking an additional sum of €3,750 a month to rent one of two properties which she considered appropriate. Both properties — at Upper Leeson St and Serpentine Ave, Ballsbridge, looked “attractive and desirable”.

It was accepted there would have to be some topping up of the €6,500 figure to meet rental costs, there should be some regard to the family’s previous lifestyle, they were not required “to live in penury”, and their children should continue in their local schools, he said.

Where there was a claim over the monies at issue, the court must also exercise caution, he added.

He considered the appropriate figure for monthly expenses was €9,000.

The judge also noted the sides had agreed that a sum of about €67,000 should be paid out to meet some legal costs incurred by Ms Connolly in the proceedings to date, without prejudice to IBRC’s right to dispute that payment later.


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