Brendan Dunne and his wife Hilda mortgaged their residence, ‘Shamrockville’ on Limerick’s North Circular Rd against a €1.6m loan taken out from Bank of Ireland Mortgages in 2004.
Limerick Circuit Court heard yesterday that the house, valued at €4.5m at the height of the property boom when the loan was taken out, was now worth €1.7m.
Mr Dunne’s business collapsed after he was stricken with a life-threatening illness which confined him to a wheelchair in 2006.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told Mr Dunne, aged 68, who at one time owned six hotels and 20 properties, still had a stake in an ongoing resort development in the Cape Verde islands which would yield enough to pay off the bank, if given enough time.
However, separate proceedings in the High Court involving other parties have put the Cape Verde development on hold until February 24, when that issue is due come back before that court.
Derek Sheahan, counsel for the bank, said they received a letter on February 11 mooting the Cape Verde development as being a ‘cure-all’ for Mr Dunne’s loan, but this was not accepted by the bank.
Pat Barriscale, counsel for the Dunnes, said with the lifting of a High Court injunction on February 24, the Cape Verde development can be completed. He said this will realise €3.5m for Mr Dunne — more than enough to meet his debt to the bank.
Mr Barriscale said if the bank gets the possession order it now seeks, Mr Dunne and his wife will have nowhere to live.
He said in 2006 Mr Dunne was stricken with the life-threatening Guillain-Barré syndrome, which left him almost totally paralysed and confined to a wheelchair. He spent 16 months in hospital and lost his entire business.
Mr Dunne still has only restricted mobility. Mr Barriscale said he was seeking an adjournment of the bank repossession order until June as Mr Dunne was anxious to see out the Cape Verde development and was hopeful of its results.
Mr Sheahan said his clients, Bank of Ireland Mortgages, still wanted the repossession order and a stay could be put on the usual terms.
Judge O’Donnell gave an adjournment until June 3.