independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Family who lost €250k call for Byrne case inquiry

22/11/13 Paul and Aideen Costigan who were stung by Thomas Byrne, at their home in Stillorgan, Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins
Paul and Aideen Costigan called for an inquiry. Photo: Arthur Carron

A FAMILY who lost up to €250,000 on the value of their deceased mum's home after former solicitor Thomas Byrne forged her daughter's signature -- to transfer the house into his name -- have called for an independent inquiry into the Law Society's handling of the case.

Aideen Costigan, whose mother Josephine O'Donnell died in 2006, said a five-year legal action to remove Byrne's name from the deeds of her late mother's home resulted in a €250,000 loss for her and her siblings.

Her husband Paul Costigan has called for a review of the Law Society's supervision of Byrne's legal practice. "Surely there is a case for an independent inquiry to be held into the supervisory activities of the law society from the time of the first disciplinary action in 2002 until the closure of the practice in 2007," he said.

Byrne first came to the attention of the society less than 10 years after he qualified. In 2002, it ordered that Byrne should not be the sole signatory of cheques on his client account.

Byrne embarked on a borrowing spree in 2004, fraudulently drawing down multi-million-euro loans.

"I would expect that the law society were on red alert regarding Thomas Byrne's activities," said Mr Costigan.

The Law Society has defended its handling of the Byrne case, saying the closure of his practice was the fastest in its history.

Irish Independent

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