Business Irish

Thursday 18 January 2018

Developer told to pay nearly €1m on failed historic house purchase

Tim Healy

A PROPERTY developer and auctioneer must pay nearly €1m for failing to complete a contract to buy a historic house known to many holidaymakers in Wexford.

Judgment for €969,000 was entered in the High Court yesterday against Co Galway-based auctioneer Ian Cahill, over his failure to proceed with the purchase of Loftus Hall on Hook Head.

The three-storey 22-bedroom mansion was built in 1870 and dominates the beautiful Hook Head peninsula which is home to many holidaymakers every summer. The stately home was put up for sale five years ago, along with 63 acres, by Kathleen Devereux, a member of the family which had owned it for many years and last operated it as a country hotel in the 1980s. The court heard Mr Cahill agreed to pay €1.7m and in October 2008 paid a deposit of €170,000. However, after the collapse of the property market, he was unable to complete the purchase.

Giving judgment for €969,986 against Mr Cahill yesterday, Judge Nicholas Kearns said that despite Mr Cahill's best efforts to put forward alternatives after the collapse of the property market, they were not successful.

The house was eventually sold in July 2011 for around €600,000, the judge said.

As a result, Ms Devereux, who is now living in London, was at the loss of the price she had agreed in 2008, he said. The judgment sought against Mr Cahill factored in the amount eventually paid for it, along with the deposit paid in 2008.

Mr Cahill was unfortunately "another victim of the Celtic Tiger" and this was a "great personal tragedy" for him but the law was completely clear and the judge said he had to give judgment against him.

Irish Independent

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