Protests in court over orders to repossess

Former TD Noel O'Flynn's buy-to-let property is in arrears.

Three members of a well- known Cork political family — one of whom is currently serving a jail sentence — were among 126 mortgage holders against whom lenders sought repossession orders at a sometimes noisy Limerick County Registrar’s court yesterday.

At one point, a garda had to be called to clear the courtroom.

Case Number 67 on the list involved Permanent TSB, which sought to repossess a buy-to-let property in Co Limerick on which a mortgage had been given to former TD Noel O’Flynn and his sons Kenneth. and Gary, the latter of whom is currently in jail.

A solicitor for Permanent TSB told County Registrar Pat Wallace that €97,284 was outstanding on the mortgage, which was in arrears to the sum of €19,669. The property is in a student accommodation block on Cratloe Rd and the last payment was in July 2013.

Con Barry, solicitor, said he had been asked shortly before the hearing to act as agent for John Henshaw solicitors in Cork in relation to the O’Flynns. He said the O’Flynns were a well-known family and he requested an adjournment so they could have legal representation.

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It was stated that this was the first time an application for this repossession by the bank had been placed on the county registrar’s list.

The matter was put back to July 3.

Mr Wallace had to summon the court garda when one mortgage holder, who identified himself as Brian McCarthy, refused to take his seat after he approached and gave Mr Wallace a sheet of paper. He repeatedly asked Mr Wallace to read the document and refused to resume his seat in the public gallery.

Mr Wallace told Mr McCarthy he would not read his paper as he had a list to work through, and that he was interfering with the due process of law.

Mr Wallace asked that the court garda, Sgt Michelle Bugler, be called.

At this point, a retired garda, Ken Smollen who described himself as leader of the Irish Democratic Party, started to address Mr Wallace from the public gallery and requested that all the cases be adjourned to await the announcement of Government measures to deal with the mortgage crisis.

As he spoke, about 30 people in the public gallery stood up and Mr Wallace left the bench. As he did so, people clapped and cheered.

Most of those in the public gallery left peacefully when asked to by Sgt Bugler.

On his return to the bench, Mr Wallace said he had a job to do and those people left were welcome to remain.

He warned if there were further protests he would ask those involved to leave.

One woman told Mr Wallace she had returned two weeks ago from New Zealand to deal with her mortgage debt. A solicitor said this mortgage holder was engaging with with the bank. Mr Wallace said the debt was not insurmountable and adjourned the repossession hearing to September.

Another woman told Mr Wallace she was in arrears due to ill health caused by the condition of her house. Her total debt was €191,000, with arrears of €60,000. She said she cannot get the house repaired as an insurance claim she wanted to pursue needed the signature of her ex-husband, which she cannot get. Mould and dampness were now causing her ongoing health problems, resulting in financial difficulties. Mr Wallace granted the bank a repossession order and put a 12-month stay on it.

A number of cases involved couples who had broken up. In one case, a couple who had just completed lengthy separation proceedings asked to for time to deal with the mortgage debt, which was acceded to by Mr Wallace who granted an adjournment.

Of the 126 applications for repossession, Mr Wallace granted 11 and two of these were by consent of the mortgage holders involved.

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