Friday 18 October 2019

Bank eyes Mick Wallace's pension after rejecting bid to block repossession

Getting further and further in arrears as the monthly interest payments due on the loan were €2,500, court heard

Newly elected MEP: Mick Wallace. Picture: Tom Burke
Newly elected MEP: Mick Wallace. Picture: Tom Burke
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A bank has rejected proposals made by politician Mick Wallace aimed at staving off the repossession of his home and is now requesting information on the value of his pension.

AIB Mortgage Bank is seeking to repossess the Ireland South MEP's residence on Clontarf Road in Dublin over an unpaid debt of €910,800.

Dublin Circuit Civil Court was told yesterday that while Mr Wallace was making payments of €2,000 a month to the bank, he was getting further and further in arrears as the monthly interest payments due on the loan were €2,500.

The repossession proceedings were previously before the court in June when Judge Jacqueline Linnane granted an adjournment after Mr Wallace's legal team said his financial circumstances had improved as a result of his election to the European Parliament. The politician's €105,000 salary as an MEP will be around €10,000 more than he earned as a TD for Wexford.

Mr Wallace was given a fortnight to come up with a fresh plan to satisfy the bank.

But the court heard yesterday that a written proposal he submitted had been rejected.

Arrears: Mick Wallace's proposal to the bank was rejected. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Arrears: Mick Wallace's proposal to the bank was rejected. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Counsel for Mr Wallace, Jack Tchrakian BL, said his client also received a letter from the bank's solicitors asking for several items of information, including the valuation of his pension entitlements.

He said the MEP would need six weeks to get the information and documents sought and to work out the encashment value of the pension.

Brian Conroy BL, for the bank, told the court Mr Wallace submitted a proposal on June 19, but it was rejected on June 28.

"The position is that while some payments are being made, the arrears are increasing in circumstances where the payments aren't sufficient to service his interest repayments," he said.

Mr Conroy said the proceedings were issued in late 2017 and in the circumstances he was instructed to seek a hearing date. He said that while there didn't appear to be any dispute in relation to the amount of the debt or the amount of arrears, Mr Wallace had raised various issues in affidavits and a hearing was likely to take two hours if these were to be dealt with.

Mr Conroy said the matters raised included "an alleged forbearance agreement" and a technical issue in relation to the entity that is entitled to sue the MEP.

The court heard Mr Wallace entered bankruptcy in December 2016 and had since been discharged.

However, Mr Tchrakian said that while Mr Wallace was technically no longer in bankruptcy, his client remained under an agreement to continue making payments to the official assignee until the end of February next year.

Judge Linnane was told by Mr Tchrakian there was probably no reality to the repossession matter being dealt with in the next three months.

He sought an adjournment until October, saying by that stage it would be quite clear the direction negotiations are taking.

The judge adjourned the matter until then for mention.

"If it hasn't been resolved or if a proposal hasn't been put through that is acceptable to the bank, there is going to be a hearing date," she said.

The house at the centre of the case has been described as Mr Wallace's primary residence.

The then builder borrowed €825,000 to purchase the property in 2004.

Official assignee Christopher Lehane is not objecting to the bank's bid to get possession of the property, which the court heard is valued at between €900,000 and €1m.

Irish Independent

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