Former Irish Times advertising executive Paula Hatton, who had a 13-year live-in relationship with the newspaper’s business section editor, Barry O’Keeffe, is also asking the court to determine ownership of the home.
Mr Noel Devitt, counsel for Ms Hatton, told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan Ms Hatton was seeking an interlocutory restraints relating to the collection and that the matter could be adjourned on the basis of mutual undertakings not to remove, interfere with or dispose of any of the items.
Hatton, in a sworn affidavit, said she started a relationship with O’Keeffe in 1990 at her exclusively owned home at Ormond Crescent, Swords. In 1999 they decided she would sell her home and they would buy jointly at Boroimhe Poplars.
She claimed she had contributed €107,292 to the purchase and that O’Keeffe contributed about €25,394. At the time O’Keeffe was a journalist with the Irish Times and she was an advertising executive.
Hatton said she had a life-long interest in fine arts, antiques and collectibles and over the past 13 years had built up a significant collection of about 7,000 prints, paintings, furniture, ceramics, toys, advertising memorabilia, coins, medals, engravings, lithographs, limited edition books and jewellery as well as a comprehensive reference library of antique price guides.
In June 2002 opportunities for redundancy arose in the Irish Times and they agreed she would take the redundancy package and he would support her as homemaker. He had been made editor of the newspaper’s business section.
On Christmas Eve last year unhappy differences had arisen and O’Keeffe had indicated he wished to terminate their relationship, put their home up for sale and split the proceeds in equal amounts. She had rejected the proposal.
Hatton claimed last month she had noticed O’Keeffe packing and removing items of the collection. While some of the items would have been purchased either by or for O’Keeffe the vast bulk had been purchased by her and was her property.
She claimed she was anxious that unless restrained by the court O’Keeffe would continue to remove items from the collection.
Nuala Jackson, counsel for O’Keeffe, said it had also been agreed that before the next court date a full inventory of disputed items would be furnished by both parties.