Irish News

Friday 25 July 2014

Colleagues fear Perry finished in Dail after €2.5m judgment

Michael Brennan and Paul Melia

Published 26/07/2013|04:00

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John Perry has six weeks to deal with ruling against him

JUNIOR Minister John Perry's allies in Fine Gael believe that he is doomed politically, due to the judgment of almost €2.5m against him.

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There is a growing acceptance in the party that he may be unable to raise the necessary funds to repay the sum to Danske Bank over the next six weeks.

One senior FG figure said that Mr Perry was in "serious trouble" because it would be very difficult to raise the €2.47m required from selling his supermarket, hardware shop and other assets in his native Sligo.

"Where would you get a buyer for it? He has a very serious problem. He could lose his job and all his businesses," he said.

Mr Perry had been a dominant business figure in his home town of Ballymote in south Sligo, owning a supermarket, a restaurant, a hardware store, and a funeral home. However, he ended up in a legal dispute over his investment in a hotel in the town.

Last year, he settled an action with Hilary Burke, a Galway widow, over the alleged failure to pay a €1.3m debt relating to the lease of the Coach House Hotel. The hotel shut its doors last September.

If Mr Perry is unable to repay the €2.47m judgment and is declared bankrupt at the behest of Danske Bank, he will have to give up his Dail seat. He has been given until September 2 to deal with the judgment against him.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that Mr Perry – who was one of his most loyal supporters during the failed heave against him – has to "deal with" the court judgment against him over the next six weeks.

Mr Kenny has declined to comment on a call from Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty on whether Mr Perry briefed him on any potential conflict of interest between his personal business dealings and his role as junior minister for small business.

There is significant sympathy for Mr Perry's plight in FG.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said that like a lot of people in the recession, he became involved in a number of investments and business ventures that did not work out.

"I certainly don't see any evidence of wrongdoing, and I certainly don't think he should lose his job over it.

"I think a business running into trouble is something most small businesses can identify with, and shows he can understand the problems being faced," he said.

Junior minister for New Era Fergus O'Dowd said it was an extremely difficult personal case, while junior minister for tourism Michael Ring said he had great sympathy for him.

Irish Independent

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