Wednesday 24 January 2018

O'Donnells' fight to retain home will be fast-tracked

Tim Healy

AN action by the four adult children of solicitor Brian O'Donnell aimed at preventing Bank of Ireland seizing their luxury family home in Killiney is to be fast-tracked by the Commercial Court.

The property, at Gorse Hill, Vico Road, Killiney, was valued at €30m in 2006 but is now worth between €6m and €7m, according to a statement of affairs from Mr O'Donnell and his wife, Dr Mary Patricia O'Donnell, Mr Justice Peter Kelly heard.

Cian Ferriter SC, for the bank, which is seeking to enforce a €71m judgment against the couple over unpaid loans, said the property was worth between €6m and €7m even in these times, and the bank was anxious the case be heard soon.

In a separate action, the O'Donnell children -- Alexandra, Blaise, Blake and Bruce -- are challenging the appointment by the bank of a receiver and manager over the Gorse Hill property.

They are also challenging mortgages and guarantees entered into in 2006 by Vico Ltd, the Isle of Man company which owns Gorse Hill.

The children's proceedings were issued in late July, but the bank had not yet received a statement of claim, Mr Ferriter said.

Ross Maguire SC, for the children, said they would deliver a statement of claim within two weeks.

Mr Justice Kelly entered the case into the Commercial Court and directed that the statement be fully particularised.

The bank claims the two ordinary shares in Vico Ltd appear to be held in trust for the children.


As part of a security package for the restructuring of various loans, it claims Vico entered on June 1, 2006 into two separate mortgages and charges in favour of Bank of Ireland over the property.

It also entered, it is alleged, into guarantees and indemnities relating to debt owed by the O'Donnell parents, and the 2006 mortgage related to all sums owed from Vico Ltd to the bank.

The bank also claims the children signed statutory declarations confirming they have no interest in Gorse Hill other than as beneficial shareholders of Vico Ltd.

When the children previously indicated they would seek an interim court order to stop the bank seeking possession of the property, the bank told them it would not seek possession pending the hearing of the injunction application, due back in court on October 22.

The children allege the various mortgage deeds, guarantees and indemnities given by Vico Ltd concerning Gorse Hill in 2006 are invalid on grounds they were allegedly procured by "unconscionable application of undue pressure and influence and breach of trust, negligence, and breach of duty".

Irish Independent

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