Dying woman is told to pay €10 a week towards her €38,000 debt
A TERMINALLY-ILL woman was yesterday ordered to hand over €10 a week in order to pay off a debt of €38,000.
But it will take her 69 years to clear the amount owed to her credit union, it emerged yesterday.
Mary Dowd (37) of Cloonfad, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, is being pursued through the courts by St Colman's Credit Union in Claremorris after she and her partner had been advanced a loan of €78,000 but failed to make meaningful repayments.
The couple had sought the loan after there was a shortfall in a mortgage to build their family home.
Ms Dowd's partner, an alcoholic, "drank" much of the mortgage money and he has not been in touch since moving to the UK a number of years ago, Castlebar Circuit Court heard.
Ms Dowd, who is now the sole carer of her young son, was diagnosed two years ago with progressive Parkinson's Disease and is unable to work.
Her entire income amounts to about €200 a week in disability payments, plus children's allowance of €150 a month.
In addition, she owes AIB €79,000 for her mortgage and owes AIB Finance €23,500 for a loan to buy a specially adapted car. She is being helped through her dire circumstances by her own mother and the mother of her former partner.
In court yesterday, she appealed a district court instalment order, directing her to repay the credit union €100 a month.
Ms Dowd told the court that she could not believe that things had come to such a stage with the credit union.
"I've been advised that the next stage is they can take the house from me", she told Judge Margaret Heneghan. Ms Dowd added: "My partner drank a lot of the money advanced for the house ... he was living with me and I copped that he was drinking it. If he hadn't been drinking the money we would have been able to finish the house".
Manager of St Colman's Credit Union, Gerry Kelly told the court that he always had the greatest of respect for Ms Dowd. He agreed that she was a lady facing an unfortunate set of circumstances.
Mr Kelly confirmed that the credit union had been paid €40,000 on a disability insurance policy which the Irish League of Credit Unions had paid in respect of Ms Dowd.
Mr Kelly said he was aware that Ms Dowd was suffering from a terminal illness.
Judge Heneghan directed Ms Dowd to repay €10 per week, but noted that it would take 69 years to pay off the outstanding €36,000.