Monday 16 July 2018

Two Bula Mines founders bankrupted over legal costs

The judge threw out McDonagh’s claim which meant the six other claims collapsed with it and were dismissed
The judge threw out McDonagh’s claim which meant the six other claims collapsed with it and were dismissed

Tim Healy

The High Court has declared two of the founders of collapsed Bula Mines company bankrupt over non-payment of a €4.8m legal costs debt.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan said Michael Wymes and Richard Wood must each be adjudicated bankrupt. The two, along with Tom Roche senior, established Bula in 1971 to buy a zinc and lead mine near Navan, Co Meath but it collapsed with substantial debts some years later. The State was a shareholder in the company. Protracted litigation followed the collapse.

In July 2003, costs of the litigation, after taxation, were issued for €3.29m, which with interest amounted to €4.8m.

The Minister for Energy and Natural Resources set about recovering that money and in 2010 issued bankruptcy proceedings against Mr Wymes and Mr Wood.

Further litigation followed but the petition to have the men declared bankrupt was renewed in January of this year. Mr Wymes appeared in person to oppose the petition while Mr Wood, who was represented, also did not consent to the orders sought.

In the judge's view no grounds had been advanced to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of the court to place a stay on these bankruptcy proceedings.

The Minister was entitled to the reliefs he sought and the debtors, Mr Wymes and Mr Wood, must each be adjudicated bankrupt, he said.

Irish Independent

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