Friday 18 August 2017

Well-known councillor loses Clontarf home after failing to keep up repayments of €8,000 a month

Councillor Nial Ring. Photo: Tony Gavin
Councillor Nial Ring. Photo: Tony Gavin

Ray Managh

DUBLIN City Councillor Nial Ring and his wife, Joyce, today lost their family home in leafy Clontarf to Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank.

Ring, who wanted to be Lord Mayor of Dublin during the Centenary year of 2016, has arrears debts totalling more than half a million euro on their house at 63 St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3.

Barrister Sheila Finn, counsel for the bank, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court that Ring and his wife owed €514,817 in arrears alone on three loans taken out initially with the Governor of the Bank of Ireland and transferred to Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank in 2005.

Ms Finn, who appeared with Kane Tuohy Solicitors, said the couple had taken out three loans in 2003 for separate amounts of €234,000;  €380,000 and €486,000, a total of €1,100,000.

She said repayments on the loans amounted to €8,000 a month and following default of almost half a million euro the bank had sought repayment and, in the event of failure, had warned the Rings it would seek a possession order.

Neither Councillor Ring nor his wife were in court today to hear Judge Linnane hand the property back to the bank with legal costs.  She granted the Rings a stay of six months to find alternative accommodation or reach an acceptable arrangement with the bank.

Counsel for the Rings asked the court for an adjournment.  She said Mr Ring had recently found a new job as consultant to a mine drilling company in which US companies had a take-over interest.

She said Mr Ring had made a number of monthly payments of €10,000 as a result of his new employment and felt confident that he could arrange a new financing deal on the loans with another lender without any court orders being made against him.

Judge Linnane said she accepted some payments of €10,000 had been made in recent months but these were not as good as they seemed in that the normal monthly repayment on the three loans was €8,000 anyway.

“It would take a long time for him to pay off the half million euro plus arrears, never mind the loans, and I accept the bank’s contention that the ongoing situation is unrealistic,” Judge Linnane said.

Granting the bank an order for possession of No 63 St Lawrence Road Judge Linnane granted Mr and Mrs Ring a stay of six months on the basis that €10,000 a month would continue to be paid to the bank in the meantime.

Counsel for the Rings said the couple might use the stay to mount an appeal against today’s possession order.

In a statement Mr Nial Ring said:

"As much of the media has reported, this morning Bank of Ireland were granted a repossession order on my family, notwithstanding the fact that I have being paying €10,000 per month (which is 4k interest and 6k capital unlike the figures reported) and have put in place asset sales and refinancing structures to completely clear the outstanding balance. The Bank were fully aware of this but insisted on getting the order, which was, of course, their legal right - however unreasonable this may seem.

"However, what seems to have been missed is the fact that the judge put a stay of six months on the order.  This means that my family and I will not be immediately vacating the house and I will have ample time to repay the loan in full through these asset sales. The judge gave the stay in full possession of the facts. I obviously fully accept the court's decision and look forward to dealing with the matter speedily, professionally and in the best interests of my family.

"My family and I are very grateful for the many messages of support from friends and constituents.  Many other families have found themselves in similar positions without the ability to extract themselves from their dilemma and we have enormous sympathy for their plight.

"My own immediate plans are to travel to London tomorrow on business and, as a Chelsea supporter, I will be going to Wembley for the FA Cup final on Saturday.  I will be doing so mindful of the recent tragedy in Manchester - people's lives are much more important than a bank repossession order."

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