Car dealer loses court bid to prevent fast-tracking of bank's case for €16m judgment against him
A CAR dealer in his 70s who ran garage businesses in Co Louth over four decades has lost a bid to prevent the fast-tracking of a bank's case for €16m summary judgment against him on grounds including his limited reading and writing skills.
Patrick McCabe was "at the helm" of the McCabe garage business in Drogheda and Ardee for the last 40 years and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) did not accept that his claim of poor literacy prevented the bank's proceedings against him and others being fast-tracked to the Commercial Court, Cian Ferriter SC, for the bank, said.
It had never previously been suggested that Mr McCabe had any impediment in his business dealings with the bank, counsel added.
An accountant for Mr McCabe had told IBRC the dealer was also involved with NAMA and had an "overall exposure" of about €100m, an IBRC official said in an affidavit. IBRC was told various properties owned by Mr McCabe and his companies were not worth €10m combined, she added.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said Mr McCabe had been described as "illiterate" but that did not appear to be the case as the court had been told he could read, albeit at a much slower pace than most people, and he had also signed documents during his many years in business and an affidavit.
The judge also rejected arguments of culpable delay by IBRC in bringing the court proceedings such as to deny it the entitlement to avail of the Commercial Court's fast-track procedures.
In the circumstances, the judge agreed to transfer to the Commercial Court list the bank's case brought against Mr McCabe and his wife Alicia, of Blakestown, Ardee, Co Louth, and three companies - McCabe's of Ardee Ltd, Mc Cabe's Garage (Drogheda) Ltd and Mc Cabe's Garage
(Ardee) Ltd. The latter company was placed in voluntary liquidation last October but the company's nominated liquidator was later, after IBRC took court proceedings, replaced by a nominee of the bank.
The judge adjourned the matter to next Monday when the defendants must outline the nature of any defence they wish to advance.
IBRC had argued it had engaged since 2010 in negotiations with the defendants and their agents in seeking to try and achieve a commercial resolution to the debts. It said it was ultimately not possible to reach a concluded agreement on proposals for debt reduction and disposal of properties owned mainly by either the couple or some of the McCabe companies, including some 160 acres surrounding the couple's farm at Blakestown.
Demands for repayment were ultimately made last July and, when the demands were not met, receivers were appointed over various properties and the proceedings were initiated, the bank said.
Earlier, Mr Ferriter said IBRC had resolved matters with another defendant, John McCabe, a businessman and son of the couple, after negotiations and was not proceeding against him.
In its action against Patrick and Alicia McCabe, IBRC is seeking summary judgment orders totalling some €16m, made up of €3m arising from various loans provided to them, plus some €13m arising from their guarantees of the liabilities of two McCabe companies - McCabe's of Ardee Ltd and Mc Cabe's Garage Drogheda Ltd. Judgment orders are also sought against the defendant companies arising from the unpaid facilities.