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Farmer whose cattle were shot by army has bankruptcy extended to 8 years

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Monaghan farmer John Hoey Picture: Pat Byrne

Monaghan farmer John Hoey Picture: Pat Byrne

Monaghan farmer John Hoey Picture: Pat Byrne

The High Court has extended to eight years the bankruptcy of Co Monaghan farmer John Hoey whose cattle were shot by members of the Defence Forces in 2016.

The decision by Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington means that Mr Hoey from Carrickmacross will not emerge from bankruptcy until February 2024.

Earlier this year the judge ruled that Mr Hoey's bankruptcy should be extended due to his lack of co-operation with the official in charge of his bankruptcy, the Official Assignee(OA), Chris Lehane.

The Judge had invited further submissions from the parties as to the length the bankruptcy should be extended for, and added that any future cooperation by Mr Hoey with the OA could determine the length of the extension.

When the matter returned before the High Court on Monday, Bernard Dunleavy SC, for Mr Lehane, said that there had been no co-operation with the OAsince the judgement was delivered. Mr Hoey had not availed of the second chance given to him by the court.

This was an aggravating factor and counsel said the OA was seeking an order under Section 85 of the 2015 Bankruptcy (Amendment) Act that Mr Hoey's bankruptcy be extended by 7to 10 years.

Eanna Mulloy SC, instructed by solicitor John Geary, for Mr Hoey said a document sent by his client in 2016 to the OAhad been unearthed after the judgement had been given.

It was a statement of personal information and meant that Mr Lehane was incorrect to say that no statement of affairs had been furnished. His client deserved some credit for it, counsel argued.

In reply Dunleavy said the unearthed document did not constitute a statement of affair, as it lacked important details including Mr Hoey's debts and other items.

Ms JusticePilkington said the unearthed document had no bearing on the findings contained in her judgement.

She also noted that there had been no co-operation by Mr Hoey with the OA since her judgement was delivered in April.

In the circumstances, she was satisfied to extend Mr Hoey's bankruptcy by eight years from the time he was adjudicated bankrupt.

Mr Hoey intends to appeal the court's ruling.

He was declared bankrupt on foot of a petition brought by John Kelly Fuels Ltd for €262,000 in February of 2016. He was due to exit the process 12 months later.

His discharge from bankruptcy was stayed pending the outcome of the OA's extension application.

Mr Lehane claimed that Mr Hoey had failed to co-operate by failing to provide a statement of affairs detailing all of his assets, had moved a substantial amount of farm machinery from his farm and hid them on the grounds of a local hotel.

It was also alleged that Mr Hoey attempted to hide payments he received from a meat factory and had hid cash on his property, which was recovered following a search of the premises.

The court also heard that In the interests of public health and safety, and to prevent the spread of TB, Mr Lehane had reluctantly used defence force marksmen to humanely destroy five of Mr Hoey'scows.

The animals had gone wild, dangerous and could not be captured, Mr Lehane said.

Mr Hoey claimed that everything he had worked for was "literally wiped out and destroyed" by Mr Lehane and his agents.

Online Editors