TD puts on a brave face – but the stakes are high as he heads for Stubbs Gazette
Published 19/07/2014 | 02:30
HAS time finally run out for John Perry?
That is the question which will be on everyone's lips once 'Stubbs Gazette' publishes the names of the TD and his wife Marie on Monday. They will appear in the dreaded journal, which publishes information on debtors, after Danske Bank finally registers a €2.5m judgment it obtained against the couple a year ago.
It is a significant move by the bank as it allows it to take further steps to recover the money owed if it wishes.
Such steps could include forcing the sale of the TD's assets. In the worst case scenario, he could be forced into bankruptcy. The TD was putting a brave face on things last night, insisting that he and the bank still had an agreement and that the registering of the judgment was part of that.
However, it is hard not to conclude that the registration of the judgment significantly turns up the pressure.
Of course the former junior minister, a TD since 1997, has survived financial scrapes before including a reported settlement with energy provider Airtricity.
In July 2012 he also settled an action with Hilary Burke, a Galway widow, over the alleged failure to pay a €1.3m debt relating to the lease of a hotel. At the time he said the court case had no relevance to his role as TD and minister.
But the same cannot be said on this occasion.
The registration of the judgment by Danske Bank gives rise to the prospect that he could be forced into bankruptcy.
If this was to happen he would have to resign his seat because bankrupts cannot be TDs. Only days ago, after he was sacked as small business minister, the Sligo-North Leitrim TD spoke of how his main focus now would be on getting re-elected at the next general election.
He told local radio station Ocean FM that his consignment to the back benches would give him more time to represent his constituents.
"Fundamentally you are elected by the people to represent them," he said. All of this would be gone if he became a bankrupt.
The owner of several businesses in Ballymote, Co Sligo, Mr Perry borrowed heavily over a period of years, securing the funds against those enterprises.
Despite reaching an agreement with Danske Bank to sell some of these properties, difficulties arose and a number were taken off the market earlier this year.
It remains to be seen how he will satisfy the debt to the bank though he says that he is engaged in an agreed process with the lender.
His appearance in 'Stubbs Gazette' on Monday will come just days after it emerged that new European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy owes thousands in bank loans after his catering businesses collapsed.
He is currently paying down his debts.
Children's Minister James Reilly appeared in 'Stubbs Gazette' two years ago as one of five investors who had a €1.9m judgment registered against them in connection with a Co Tipperary nursing home. The property is being sold to pay off the debt.