Friday 15 December 2017

High Court temporarily extends Gorse Hill couple's bankruptcy

Brian O'Donnell
Brian O'Donnell

Tim Healy

The High Court has temporarily extended the bankruptcy of retired solicitor Brian O'Donnell and his wife, Mary Patricia.

The extension was sought by the official in charge of the O'Donnells bankruptcy, the official assignee Chris Lehane, for alleged non co-operation.

Their bankruptcy was due to end later this month but has now been extended until there is a hearing as to whether it it should be further extended.

The O'Donnells oppose the move and deny the allegations. Yesterday Mr Justice Raymond Fullam extended the bankruptcy period pending a hearing as to whether it should be extended for a period.

The length of any extension would be decided by the court. The maximum extension period is five years.

Edward Farrelly Bl, for Mr Lehane, said there were a number of grounds why the official assignee was seeking to extend the O'Donnells' bankruptcy.

One was that they had not filed a statement of affairs until two and a half years after they had been adjudicated as bankrupt. Representing himself, Mr O'Donnell said he and his wife, who he said is seriously ill and could not be present in court, were opposing the applications to both extend their bankruptcy and the interim order.

He and his wife had been subject to insolvency for some six years and it would not be fair on them if this was to be extended, he said.

They had "answered all the questions" put to them by the official assignee, he said. "I don't know what else we are supposed to do."

As part of the application to extend the bankruptcy, Mr O'Donnell will be seeking to do a number of things, including cross-examine Mr Lehane.

He will also be seeking that he be provided with documents from Bank of Ireland which, in 2013, petitioned the court to have the O'Donnells declared bankrupts.

Mr O'Donnell will also seek to have part or all of a sworn statement included in the application to extend their bankruptcy struck out.

He claimed Mr Lehane had delayed and waited till the last minute before bringing his application to extend the bankruptcy.

In reply, Mr Farrelly said there was noting unusual in making an application to extend the period of bankruptcy.

Mr Justice Fullam said he was prepared to make the interim order extending the O'Donnells' bankruptcy. The application is to be mentioned before the court next week.

Irish Independent

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