Farmer collapses during repo action

A FARMER fighting the repossession of his property yesterday collapsed dramatically in the High Court and was brought to hospital by ambulance.

The Carlow man, in his late 50s, was pleading with Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne for more time to repay a loan but then suddenly fell to the floor.

The court had heard how the farmer was attempting to block the execution of a repossession order on a loan dating back to 2004.

A sheriff had previously tried to deliver possession papers on his Carlow land but was blocked by cattle and horses, the court was told.

The farmer pleaded for a stay on the order for a month to sort out his financial affairs.

“My circumstances have changed and improved. I can discharge this thing if someone can engage me,” he claimed.

The farmer argued his lender had done nothing while part of the debt had doubled because of an 8% interest rate.

But Ms Justice Dunne replied: “You too have sat back and done nothing.”

Just then, the man staggered, gasped for breath and clutched a bench in front of him before falling to the floor in the courtroom.

As the judge left the bench, the court clerk contacted a first-aid court medic and the emergency services.

A court steward tended to the farmer on the floor before an ambulance crew arrived a number of minutes later.

The man, who was taking tablets for blood pressure, was given oxygen before being wheeled away in a blanket and chair out of the court.

One remaining lawyer was heard saying: “That’s the stress, that’s what it can do to you in here.”

The case was adjourned until March.

Four repossessions were granted yesterday, an usually low number for a day’s hearings.

One businessman had five properties repossessed, four of which had been put up as securities for a near €8 million loan to buy land.

Lender the EBS Building Society said the repayments of €44,500 per month had not been kept up.

The borrower asked to be given time to harvest wheat in the autumn on 20 acres of farmland in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, the property which he had originally mortgaged the others for.

More than €8.4m was due on the 2006 loan, the court heard.

Allegations that EBS had previously frustrated the businessman’s attempts to sell the properties were denied by the lender.

In a separate case, another businessman had two Dublin apartments, one in Temple Bar and a separate penthouse across the Liffey, repossessed by AIB over a loan for €500,000 taken out in late 2007.

In another case, Ms Justice Dunne adjourned a possession order for a man who had defaulted on his €4,500-a-month mortgage repayments and was €120,000 in arrears.

The Wexford man, who has applied for aid through the state-paid mortgage supplement scheme, pleaded for time saying: “If I can get one last chance, if I can get that money off them I’ll come up with the rest.”


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