Friday 21 October 2016

Assessment of damages to be made in Nick Faldo island dispute

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 07/06/2016 | 18:11

Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo
Bartragh Island in Killala Bay, Co Mayo

The High Court is to assess damages in a dispute about an agreement over the sale of an Island off the west coast of Ireland.

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The action relates to Bartragh Island in Killala Bay, Co Mayo, which was bought by a company controlled by international golfer Nick Faldo more than a decade ago.

It was planned to develop the island into a championship links golf course.

The case was brought by a former owner of the island, Mary Molloy, against singer and actor Sean Simon over an agreement they entered into in 1996.

In 2003, the High Court ruled Ms Molloy, a psychotherapist and psychologist, of Quay Road, Killala was entitled to damages against Mr Simon of Deerpark, Loughrea, Boyle, Co Roscommon.

The court found Ms Molloy's bid to exercise the 1996 agreement over the island had been frustrated.

The case was due to progress by way of an assessment of damages in favour of Ms Molloy.

However, she was unhappy with certain aspects of that decision and appealed it to the Supreme Court. The appeal was not heard and was eventually withdrawn.

The assessment of damages was then re-entered in the High Court.

The case came before Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan Tuesday (June 7) when she dismissed a preliminary application by Mr Simon to have the assessment of damages case struck out.  He claimed there was inordinate and inexcusable delay. The application was opposed.

The judge accepted there had been a delay but it was in the best interests of the parties and justice that the case go ahead.

The case will now proceed to assessment of damages.

In 2003 Ms Molloy sought an order seeking specific performance of an option agreement she entered with Mr Simon in 1996 to buy Bartragh Island and other adjacent islands in Killala Bay.

She bought the lands in 1989 where she intended to develop an institute for biodynamic therapy.

She fell into arrears with her lender Irish Permanent who put the property up for sale by tender.

She subsequently entered into an agreement with Mr Simon.

He was to provide IR£290,000 to purchase the property and she was given the option to buy back the property within 90 days on the basis of her paying back IR£290,000 with an additional IR£100,000.

She had the finance in place to buy back the island, but the deal did not proceed.

Mr Simon who took out a loan with Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) to buy the Island denied Ms Molloy's option remained enforceable.

INBS took possession of the island because they were owed monies by Mr Simon and agreed the sale of the land for €1.5 million to Nick Faldo International in October 1997.

In 2003, Ms Justice Mella Carroll ruled Ms Molloy's attempts to exercise her option had been "frustrated".

That judge said INBS, as mortgagees in possession, had agreed for the sale. As Ms Molloy had previously agreed the INBS mortgage on the island would rank ahead of her option, it was entitled to complete the sale.

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