Dealer’s girlfriend must leave €410k home

A drug dealer’s girlfriend will have to leave a luxurious house he built for them from the proceeds of his criminal activities, the High Court has ruled.

Avril Boland, aged 29, lived since 2008 in the house at the scenic spot in Dromahair, Co Leitrim, with Patrick Irwin, aged 30, until he was jailed last year for seven years for having €67,000 worth of cocaine at Boyle in Roscommon in Oct 2006.

Unless she appeals yesterday’s High Court order appointing a receiver over the house by Aug 15, she must leave by that date, the court heard.

The Criminal Assets Bureau obtained the order allowing it to appoint a receiver and have it sold, with the proceeds going to the State. A condition of the order not being enforced before Aug 15 is that she must allow prospective purchasers view it and that she keep it insured and maintained.

It was built at a total cost of €410,000, Mr Justice Feeney said when granting the order to CAB.

The judge said the bulk of the money, including repayments on a €120,000 mortgage taken out by Ms Boland, the registered owner of the house, came from Irwin’s criminal activities. The judge also ordered the forfeiture of a €50,000 property bond, estimated to be worth half that, which Ms Boland was the beneficial owner of but which was also funded by Irwin.

The court was given evidence that Irwin had carried out and organised work on the house but which was registered in Ms Boland’s name to hide the fact that funds had come from his criminal activities, the judge said.

Ms Boland’s evidence about the financing of the property and the bond was contradictory and inconsistent, and to a large extent self-serving, the judge said.

She had a hairdresser’s salary of €300 per week net, but lived a lifestyle, including the house and foreign holidays, which the judge said were funded by Irwin’s criminal activities.

An account into which her salary was paid showed it was not used to fund day-to-day expenses

A mortgage of €120,000 was taken out by her to fund the house, but by its completion in 2008, CAB’s experts had established the actual building costs were €325,000, the judge said. Added to this was €40,000 for the site itself, furnishings of €40,000, and conveyancing, which brought the total to €410,000.

Along with the mortgage, involving monthly payments of €500 which were not paid from Ms Boland’s salary, it was clear the outgoings were funded by Irwin, the judge said. Her bank account was effectively used to launder Irwin’s criminal funds, he said.

The judge ordered that she should receive €10,000 from the proceeds of the sale to compensate her for any payments she made towards it.

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