Couple in Thai adoption wrangle have home repossessed

A couple, who claim they have had to live in Thailand for several years in a bid to adopt their late son’s abandoned child, have lost their Dublin home in a bank repossession case.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard in the Circuit Civil Court that in 2009, Christopher and Elizabeth O’Brien’s son died in Thailand, leaving his year-old to the care of its Thai mother, who had since abandoned the child.

James P Evans, solicitor for the O’Briens, said the couple, who owe €117,000 mortgage arrears on their home at 6 the Walk, Cypress Downs, Templeogue, Dublin, were not out of the jurisdiction for financial convenience.

“Their situation has come about due to the death of their son in Thailand in 2009, and whose one-year-old child was abandoned by its mother,” Mr Evans told the court.

“They felt compelled to go to Thailand to bring their grandchild back to Ireland, and had been going through an administrative process but were refused in Ireland.

“They then had to apply for the adoption of the child and believe this may take another 12 months.

“They had been making payments of €700 a month towards their mortgage and can increase that figure to €1,200,” Mr Evans said.

When Judge Linnane asked Mr Evans how this level of payment would deal with mortgage repayments and arrears of €117,000, the court heard that Mr and Mrs O’Brien were attempting to engage with Permanent TSB, formerly Irish Life and Permanent.

Mr Evans said the O’Briens had a daughter living in the property at The Walk, Cypress Downs, who was meant to take responsibility for mortgage repayments and who, unfortunately, had not, leading to the large amount of arrears.

He said Mr and Mrs O’Brien, for a significant period of time, believed their daughter was taking care of their mortgage, and were unaware of the developing situation because their mail was not being forwarded to them in Thailand.

“When they found out this wasn’t happening, they took the necessary steps to engage with the bank. That’s the correct and accurate situation,” Mr Evans said.

They had now obviously arranged for all of their mail to be forwarded to Thailand, and were attempting to come to some arrangement with the bank.

“I don’t believe they are working in Thailand but they own a number of rental properties in Ireland,” Mr Evans said.

Granting the bank an order for possession of No 6 The Walk, Cypress Downs, together with its legal costs, Judge Linnane said the problem was “just not being addressed”. The court heard that the O’Briens appeared to be living permanently in Thailand.

Mr Evans said the O’Briens regarded No 6 as their family home, and was granted a two-month stay on execution of the possession order to allow them make some further attempt to tackle their indebtedness.


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