Farming couple may have to sell part of vast 1,600ac farm to pay debt
A couple may have part of their 1,600 acre farm sold to pay a €352,000 debt to a grain merchant by order of the High Court.
Jim and June Smith, tillage farmers from Portarlington, Co Laois, were sued by Quinns grain and agricultural merchants of Baltinglass, Co Wicklow.
Mr Justice David Keane granted an order to Quinns over the lands which means unless the couple pay the debt within a month, the property can be put up for sale and the court will later decide how the proceeds are to be distributed.
The order does not affect their home which is on the lands and they are to be provided with a right-of-way to the house as part of the court order.
The case related to a 2010 summary judgment order against Mr Smith over a shortfall on his (Smith's) account with Quinns in 2009 following some five years of business between them.
By the time judgment was obtained against Mr Smith, the debt stood at €292,000, inclusive of interest.
In 2011, Mr Smith delivered €54,000 worth of grain to Quinns in part payment of the debt but no further monies were forthcoming.
By February 2016, the debt, including €114,000 in accumulated interest, was €352,000.