Late judge’s six children in row over €15m assets

A DISPUTE between the six adult children of the late Judge Noel Ryan over the management of €15 million in property assets acquired by their parents and themselves is to go to mediation.

Four of the siblings have made a number of allegations about how their brother Oran Ryan, a solicitor, managed the former family partnership or firm which owns various properties. Due to alleged acts or omissions by Oran Ryan and their sister Trinette Larkin, the four claim they cannot sell any of the properties.

The firm was dissolved in October 2007 by Marie McGovern (nee Ryan), one of the plaintiffs and wife of High Court judge Brian McGovern. The plaintiffs want orders for its winding up, the restitution to them of all monies allegedly withdrawn by the defendants, or either of them, from the firm without the plaintiffs consent, and damages.

It is claimed Oran Ryan and Trinette Larkin, unknown to their siblings and at a time when the firm was paying interest on loans, used funds from the firm in 1993 to buy a property at Dame Street, Dublin.

It is also claimed Oran Ryan withdrew €161,550 from the firm’s account in 2002 unknown to the plaintiffs and made a series of unexplained withdrawals from, and deposits to, the accounts in 2003 and 2005. Oran Ryan is also alleged to have failed to inform them there was no rent review relating to a property at 17 Fitzwilliam Square after a lease expired in 1995, resulting in alleged losses of some €300,000 rental income.

The plaintiffs claim they have tried unsuccessfully since October 2007 to reach agreement with the defendants on how the firm’s assets are to be distributed and its liabilities discharged.

When the proceedings came before the Commercial Court yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Kelly proposed the dispute be mediated rather than litigated as “little good” would result if the matter was pressed to trial.

After being told all sides were in favour of trying mediation, the judge said he was “glad to hear that, it makes a lot of sense”. After directing the exchange of legal documents between the sides to help identify the issues between them, he adjourned the case to January remarking: “The sooner it is mediated, the better.”

The action is by Declan Ryan, Sittingbourne, Kent, England; Marie McGovern, Foxrock, Dublin; Martin Ryan, Southern View, Baily, Co Dublin; and Irene Ryan, Stonepark Abbey, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin; against Oran Ryan, Westminster Road, Foxrock, Dublin, and Trinette Larkin, Countess Road, Killarney, Co Kerry.

All six were former members of a partnership known as the Ryan Partnership, Ryan rentals or Ryan Family Rentals.

The plaintiffs said their parents Noel and Lorna Ryan had acquired properties in Dublin for investment purposes at 17 Fitzwilliam Square, Olympia House, 61-63 Dame Street, and Shamrock Chambers, Eustace Street. The parties later acquired other properties for investment purposes at 4 Fitzwilliam Place, 16 Fitzwilliam Square and at Portnoo, Co Donegal.

It is claimed their mother established a family trust about 1972 for the properties acquired by their parents which were registered in the names of Declan Ryan and Oran Ryan as trustees for all six siblings. The Lorna Ryan Trust/Ryan Trust was reconstituted in late 1988 as a partnership.

Judge Ryan was a judge of the Circuit and Special Criminal Courts. He died in March 2003, aged 87.

More in this section