Friday 26 December 2014

Former minister faces prospect of bankruptcy over €2.4m bank debt

Published 19/07/2014 | 02:30

Former junior minister John Perry TD
Former junior minister John Perry TD
Former junior minister John Perry's properties in Ballymote, Sligo.

FORMER junior minister John Perry faces the prospect of bankruptcy after being unable to repay debts of almost €2.5m to Danske Bank.

The bank moved in recent days to register a judgment it secured against the Fine Gael TD last summer, the Irish Independent has learned.

The debt, which is in Mr Perry's name and that of his wife Marie, will be formally published in 'Stubbs Gazette' on Monday.

The move means the bank will be able to take steps to recover the money owed to it, up to and including issuing bankruptcy proceedings.

It is the second blow to Mr Perry (57) in the past few days, coming after he was sacked as small business minister in the Government reshuffle.

He had been attempting to sell assets in a bid to pay off the debts, which he did not dispute.

After the judgment, Mr Perry reached an agreement with the bank over repayments, the details of which were not disclosed.

The TD did not return calls seeking comment last night.

However, celebrity lawyer Paul Tweed, who is representing Mr Perry, issued a brief statement.

He said: "I have clear and categoric instructions that the agreement my client has and continues to have with Danske Bank is being concluded to the mutual satisfaction of both parties and that any registered judgment forms part of that agreement."

A spokesman for Danske Bank said it could not comment on the case.

The Sligo-North Leitrim TD's term as a junior minister was dogged with controversy over his debts.

Matters first came to a head in October 2011, just seven months after his appointment to the junior ministerial ranks, when the bank issued proceedings against the couple. In July of last year, the bank secured a judgment against them for €2.47m.

Properties

Businesses and properties owned by the TD in his base in Ballymote, Co Sligo were used as security on the loan facility at the centre of the case.

These included a retail premises, the Stone Park restaurant and Perry's Hardware, all located in the town's main street.

The loans were also secured against around 50 acres of agricultural land near Ballymote.

The bank claimed the couple had made some repayments but failed to keep up the level of interim repayments required under the terms of the loan.

Following the court decision, a stay of two months was put on the registration of the judgment to allow for restructuring proposals to be advanced by the couple to the bank.

Although the bank initially objected to the stay, it appears they gave the TD some breathing space to sell assets. A number of properties were put on the market, but were withdrawn from sale earlier this year.

Mortgage documents show Mr Perry has borrowings from Danske Bank, EBS and Permanent TSB. He also has borrowings from AIB.

Irish Independent

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