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Thursday 21 August 2014

Lotto man 'can only repay €50 a month on loan'

Published 23/03/2013 | 05:00

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A £3.3M lottery winner who acted as a guarantor for an unpaid loan with Ulster Bank has claimed he can only afford to repay €50 a month.

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In making an instalment order against him, Judge Mary Fahy said Cormac Handy, of Salthill, Galway, was still enjoying luxuries that many others had been forced to cut out.

"There might be some of that lottery money hanging around – he can appeal if he wants," she said in Galway District Court, as she ordered him to repay €250 a month.

Ulster Bank Ireland had sought to have the court enforce an order made against Mr Handy in the Circuit Court last August.

The Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) lecturer was required to repay a total of €14,371.

The creditors were seeking €400 per month, but Mr Handy said he could afford only €50.

Ulster Bank solicitor Sean Acton cross-examined him about the content of a detailed statement of means.

Mr Acton asked him to explain his average monthly expenses: €650 for food/housekeeping/personal care, €150 for gas/oil for his four-bed detached house; €120 for car maintenance/repairs; €42 for UPC broadband; €40 for Sky TV; €90 for two mobile phones; €100 for clothing and footwear; €180 in petrol for two cars; and €100 for "lifestyle expenses" – family events, Christmas, birthdays, and eating out.

The solicitor accused Mr Handy of not wanting to repay the amount owed, to which he replied that it was not his debt, but that he was standing over it.

After going through each item in the statement, Mr Acton asked Mr Handy if it was true he was a former lottery winner. Mr Handy confirmed this, and the court heard he had won IR£3.3m (€4.19m) in 2001.

When asked to explain where all that money had gone, he said €1.5m was "lost in stocks and shares" and he had lost more money when the business he went into with his brother crashed.

He told the court that, up to recently, he had been paying €1,900 interest-only on his mortgage, but that these repayments had now gone up to the full amount of €4,500 a month.

Lucky

Judge Fahy said: "When you won €3.3m, you didn't think of paying off your mortgage? You could have paid cash."

Handy replied that he had paid off half his mortgage at the time and divided some of his winnings among his family.

Judge Fahy also noted that he was paying €165 a month into a private pension, even though he was in a permanent and pensionable job with GMIT.

"You don't know how lucky you are with a permanent pensionable job," she said.

"There is €165 going (available for repayments). It is a luxury to pay for a private pension."

Mr Handy's solicitor, Antoinette McMahon, said her client had very little money to spare.

Judge Fahy disagreed, and said she was being "generous" in making an instalment order against him for €250 a month.

Irish Independent

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