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Council chases Shovlin for €7m as he prepares to exit bankruptcy

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BACK ON TRACK: Builders resume work on the Beacon South Quarter in Sandyford that was originally developed by Paddy Shovlin, inset

BACK ON TRACK: Builders resume work on the Beacon South Quarter in Sandyford that was originally developed by Paddy Shovlin, inset

BACK ON TRACK: Builders resume work on the Beacon South Quarter in Sandyford that was originally developed by Paddy Shovlin, inset

PROPERTY developer Paddy Shovlin may be only weeks away from securing a clean bill of financial health after declaring bankruptcy in the UK last May, but that does not mean his creditors have given up the fight to recover the millions of euro they are owed.

Records filed with the courts here show how Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council registered a judgement for €7.16m against the former Landmark Developments chief on April 12.

Asked to account for the money it was now seeking from the developer, a spokesman for the council said: "A judgement amounting to €7.1m, plus costs to be taxed, was registered against Patrick Shovlin and [his co-director] Patrick Fitzpatrick on April 12, 2013.

"The debt relates to development levies outstanding on developments in Sandyford. All lawful means open to the council will be used to recover this debt."

The €7.16m judgement against Mr Shovlin and Patrick Fitzpatrick comes hot on the heels of another for €33,422 that was registered nines days earlier, on April 3, by the Beacon South Quarter (BSQ) Management Company.

Conceived at the height of the boom, the €500m BSQ in Sandyford had been intended as a "world showcase" by Mr Shovlin and his fellow Landmark directors.

Today, responsibility and the multi-million euro cost of completing the ambitious development have come to rest with Nama while Mr Shovlin works as a property consultant in London and counts down the time until his discharge from bankruptcy.

Notwithstanding the BSQ development's obvious potential, which is now in the process of being realised by Nama, few were surprised when its original developer decided to go for bankruptcy in the UK.

Indeed, the Landmark chief had been under significant pressure from his creditors since the implosion of the domestic property market and the wider Irish economy in 2007.

In October 2010, matters took a serious turn for the worse when he and his co-directors at Landmark Enterprises, Patrick and Anthony Fitzpatrick, achieved the unhappy distinction of being the first developers against whom Nama secured orders in the Commercial Court for the repayment of debt.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly granted Nama judgements of €25m against Mr Shovlin and €22m each against the Fitzpatrick brothers on foot of personal guarantees that they had given on a €277.6m refinancing loan from the Bank of Ireland for the BSQ development.

In an application for judgement heard immediately after the Nama case, Ulster Bank was granted orders for €6.4m against Mr Shovlin and €3.2m against each of the Fitzpatrick brothers.

Commenting in an interview at the time on his fate and that of many other developers, Mr Shovlin said he could understand why people might have negative views about them, but he did not think it was logical to point the finger at any one group when looking to apportion blame for the country's economic collapse.

He was also adamant that he had not been a "property speculator or a quick-buck merchant", but rather someone who had put up quality-designed and constructed buildings.

Irish Independent