'Deliberate attempt to obstruct court order' - Judge rules vulture fund can 'immediately' take Ronan Ryan and Pamela Flood's home
There was a deliberate move by former Miss Ireland Pamela Flood’s husband Ronan Ryan to frustrate and obstruct the implementation of a court order handing their home back to a vulture fund, a judge stated today.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane added that there was also a conscious decision by him not to disclose in separate insolvency proceedings the existence of a consent court order granting Tanager fund possession of the couple’s home.
She granted Tanager leave to execute the consent order for possession made on March 8 last against Ryan. The insolvency proceedings did not involve Ms Flood who remains under an obligation to immediately vacate her family home at 136 Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin 3 with Ryan and their four children.
Judge Linnane’s judgment means that Tanager, through the Sheriff, can, should it wish to do so, take immediate possession of the property and put the family on the street.
Judge Linnane refused the couple a seven day stay to facilitate consideration of an appeal of her decision to the High Court. She said that when they both, with legal advice, signed an undertaking to hand over their home and leave it on or before July 9 they had been granted a four months stay to allow them find alternative accommodation.
In the insolvency proceedings, which Judge Linnane said took a number of people by surprise, Ryan had been granted a 70-day Protective Certificate fencing him off from all creditors, including Tanager.
“The granting of the Protective Certificate resulted in the implementation of the consent order made by this court being frustrated and undermined,” Judge Linnane said in a reserved judgment in the Circuit Civil Court today.
Judge Linnane said the purpose of the insolvency legislation was not to assist persons behaving in this manner.
“That would not be in the public interest. Judges depend on a daily basis on full disclosure being made to them and often set aside ex-parte orders if it later transpires there was non-disclosure of any material information,” she said.
The judge said the consent order, signed by Flood and Ryan, was still in full force and binding on Flood. Mr Ryan’s application for continuing protection under his insolvency proceedings had not affected her obligation to get out of the family home by July 9 last as had been undertaken by both of them.
Judge Linnane said she did not accept Mr Ryan’s excuse that he had not considered the existence of the consent re-possession order as material to his application for protection under the insolvency legislation. It had not been up to him to decide or to be the judge of what was material or not.
The judge said that on March 8th last the court had been informed that at the instigation of Mr Ryan and Ms Flood they and Tanager agreed to a consent order with a four months stay. At that stage the debt had risen to €1.25million and it seemed the estimated value of the property was €900,000. The couple had not made any repayments on the mortgage for almost nine years and today Judge Linnane awarded all legal costs against them.
Tanager had agreed to limit the debt to the net proceeds of sale of the house, effectively writing off more than €300,000 with no order as to costs. Mr Ryan and his wife had second thoughts and met with a Personal Insolvency Practitioner ( a PIP), Mr James Green.
While his debt to Tanager was disclosed by Mr Ryan no reference whatsoever had been made to Mr Green to the fact that a consent order for possession was in existence. Insolvency Judge Verona Lambe had granted the Protective Certificate.
Ms Flood, also a former tv presenter, was not named on Ryan’s mortgage deeds but had been joined to the re-possession proceedings following her marriage to Ryan.