Couple facing repossession of hotel 'distorted' legal battle
A couple opposing efforts to repossess their hotel over a €25m debt have "seriously and wrongly distorted" the result of a seven-year legal battle over their situation, the Commercial Court heard.
Patrick Halpin and his partner Ann Keane, owners of the Aberdeen Lodge hotel in Sandymount, Dublin, had engaged in a high-profile media campaign distorting the results of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal decisions which found they should hand over the premises to a receiver, the court was told.
They have paid just €100,000 of their debt, despite making some €4m from their hotel business in the past seven years, Mr Justice David Barniville heard.
Yesterday, he granted receiver Paul McCann permission to bring an application for the attachment and committal to prison of the couple following an attempt last month by Mr McCann's agents to take possession of the property.
Cian Ferriter SC, for the receiver, said the couple were ordered by the Supreme Court in 2016 to leave the property.
The couple then brought proceedings over Mr McCann's appointment which was originally made in 2012 by IBRC, before the debt was sold to Kenmare Property Finance.
In July 2016, the High Court dismissed their challenge.
An application to commit them to prison for breach of the court order was adjourned generally pending an appeal by them in relation to the receiver case.
As part of that adjournment, they agreed to pay €5,000 per month.
On February 15, the Supreme Court rejected their application. That gave the receiver the immediate right to take possession.
On March 28, the receiver's agents arrived at the hotel to be met with "a barrage of media" with Ms Keane and Mr Halpin making it clear they would not leave, counsel said.
They then "embarked on a high-profile media campaign and appeared live on the Miriam O'Callaghan show in which they have seriously and wrongly distorted what happened in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal", counsel said.
Ms Keane said she only received the papers from the receiver over the Easter break.
The judge adjourned the matter for four weeks.