Judge allows bankruptcy official to sell family home of ex-rugby star Peter Clohessy

Peter Clohessy, his wife and their three children have six months to vacate the property in Limerick
Judge allows bankruptcy official to sell family home of ex-rugby star Peter Clohessy

Mr Justice Richard Humphrey's placed a six-month postponement on an order requiring Mr Clohessy, his wife and their three children to vacate the property in Limerick. File photo

High Court orders have been granted allowing the official in charge of former rugby international Peter Clohessy's bankruptcy to sell his family home.

Mr Justice Richard Humphrey's also placed a six-month postponement on an order requiring Mr Clohessy, his wife and their three children to vacate the property in Limerick.

Mr Clohessy, nicknamed the Claw, was adjudicated by the High Court as a bankrupt in 2017. He had been involved in several bar and restaurant businesses which got into difficulties.

A statement of affairs filed on Mr Clohessy's behalf as part of his bankruptcy proceedings showed that in late 2016 he had debts of over €13m, mainly owed to various financial lenders.

Mr Clohessy, who represented Ireland on 54 occasions between 1993 and 2002, has since been discharged from bankruptcy.

The official in charge of his bankruptcy, the Official Assignee (OA), in an action against Mr Clohessy and his wife Anna Gibson Steel sought an order sanctioning the sale of Mr Clohessy's family home located at Cappamore, Co. Limerick.

The OA also sought an order requiring the family to give up vacant possession of the property.

The court heard that arising out of the bankruptcy the OA had Mr Clohessy's half share in the property vested in him. The OA wrote to the couple offering to sell that half share back to them, with the proceeds going to Mr Clohessy's creditors.

Those letters were returned to the OA, as "not called for".

The court heard that the mortgage due on the property in 2019 was €236,000.

The OA, represented in the application by Una Nesdale Bl, valued the property at €500,000 to €550,000, however the respondents had valued it at significantly less.

The couple opposed the application.

Judge's ruling

In his decision, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said he was satisfied to grant the orders in respect of the property.

He said it was unfortunate that the family would lose their home from where Ms Gibson-Steel conducts her business.

These were not compelling reasons to refuse the order sought in circumstances where the property offers the only prospect for creditors to be paid, and where the family have been living at the expense of creditors for four years since the adjudication, he said.

The balance of justice favours the making of the orders sought by the OA, the judge said. The judge added that a postponement period of six months offered by the OA was reasonable.

The two-year period proposed by the couple, the judge said, would impose an unwarranted delay on the creditors who have waited long enough already..

The judge noted that the house was built over 15 years ago, and adjoined Mr Clohessy's 48-acre farm. Arising out of his financial difficulties that farm was repossessed by AIB, which sold it on to a financial fund which intends to put it on the market.

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