Lawlor may have to sell €4m mansion

DISGRACED former TD Liam Lawlor may be forced to sell his exclusive west Dublin mansion — valued at €4m — after a High Court ruling yesterday.

Lawlor was yesterday given three months to pay a €275,000 legal bill plus interest to his former solicitor or risk being forced to sell his home.

The High Court has granted Lucan-based solicitor, Dermot Coyne, “a well charging order” for €275,000 on Mr Lawlor’s family home at Somerton, Tandy’s Lane, Finnstown, Lucan.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns ruled that if the sum plus interest is not paid within three months, ancillary orders would be issued which would allow for the sale of the property in order to satisfy the debt.

Estate agents have estimated that Mr Lawlor’s secluded Georgian mansion could fetch around €4m on the open market.

Mr Coyne represented Liam Lawlor at several of the court appearances which resulted in him being jailed for his failure to comply with orders issued by the Planning Tribunal.

Since Mr Coyne ceased to act for the retired politician last year, Mr Lawlor, 58, has acted for himself in legal proceedings.

In July, the Tribunal heard evidence that Mr Lawlor was in the process of transferring Somerton from his own name to that of his wife, Hazel. However, he admitted that the transaction had not yet been fully completed.

Representatives for Mrs Lawlor opposed the latest High Court application and sought an adjournment of proceedings in order to allow her to put in a replying affidavit. However, Mr Justice Kearns refused the application.

The latest High Court judgement is certain to put further pressure on the beleaguered former Dublin West TD, as the Tribunal has also sought similar orders to Mr Coyne to recover €430,000 in outstanding legal bills. They arose out of a series of High Court hearings regarding Mr Lawlor’s dealings with the inquiry.

A further hearing on the application by the Tribunal to recover its costs is due to be heard on January 16 next.

Earlier this year, Tribunal chairman, Judge Alan Mahon rejected claims by Mr Lawlor that he did not have sufficient funds to pay £10,000stg (€14,400) to a London solicitor to provide documentation to the inquiry.

An examination of offshore accounts held by Lawlor revealed that he had withdrawn over €330,000 from an account in Gibraltar in 2002, while also having annual average expenditure of €200,000.

Last night, Mr Lawlor, who was not legally represented at the High Court hearing, said he was unaware of the judgement and refused to comment further on the issue.

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