Receiver appointed over lands of farm family who owe over €1.5m in bank loans

Receiver seeks restraining order against farm family

Stock photo
Stock photo

Tim Healy

A receiver appointed over the lands of a Limerick family who owe over €1.5m in bank loans has gone to court in a bid to get access to their farm.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern on Monday admitted the case involving a 187-acre family farm to the commercial division of the High Court.

Farm owners, Frank and Oonagh Burke, of  Donoman, Croom, Co Limerick, opposed the admission of the case arguing it should be heard by the Circuit Court.

The third defendant in the case is a worker on the farm, Dean Boddy, also of Donoman, Croom.

Marcus Purcell of Ernst & Young is seeking a declaration he stands validly appointed as reciever over the Burke lands.

He also seeks an order restraining the Burkes from preventing, impeding or obstructing him from taking possession of the property.

In an affidavit, Mr Purcell said, in 2013, Ulster Bank extended two loan facilities to the Burkes totalling €1.49million so they could expand their farming business by acquiring new land and purchasing a residential investment property.

The monies advanced were secured by mortgages on the Burke's property. 

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Promontoria Aran Ltd acquired the bank's rights title and interest in the Burke's loan facilities in February 2015 and in October of that year demanded repayment of what was then an outstanding €1.58million.

Mr Purcell, who was appointed receiver over the lands in February 2016, said the farm worker Dean Boddy was named in the proceedings as he lives on an investment property on the lands. 

He had been asked to give up vacant possession but he allegedly failed to confirm in writing he would do so.

The Burke lands, he said, are estimated to have a value of about €1.6million. 

Mr Purcell said there were a number of engagements with the Burke's financial advisor.  At one stage, Mr Purcell decided not to institute legal proceeidngs in relation to the lands as Oonagh Burke was ill and due to have an operation.

Mr Purcell said he requested, through the Burkes' solicitor, that the Burkes give up vacant possession of the land in May and June 2017 and court proceedings were started last September.

Mr Purcell said the continuing refusal to provide him with vacant possession is preventing him from performing his functions as a receiver. 

He said he was very anxious the proceedings are heard and determined by the court as soon as possible so that he can proceed to sell the lands and realise the security.

In response to an affidavit from Frank Burke, in which he stated he was seeking to restructure his finance and meet his obligations, Mr Purcell said a stay of nine months was offered providing there was consent to the admission of the case to the  Commercial Court, but this was refused by the other side.

The case will come back before the court in April next year.

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