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Director's €1.6m debt written off as 'it would cost more to provide social housing'

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The High Court has approved the writing off of €1.6m in debts owed by a building company director.

The personal insolvency arrangement put before Mr Justice Mark Sanfey showed it would cost more to provide social housing for Eugene O'Connor (63) than he could pay under a new mortgage.

As part of the deal, which creditors agreed to, some €1.2m is being written off a €1.85m debt owed on Mr O'Connor's family home in Navan, Co Meath. The arrangement was devised by personal insolvency practitioner Mitchell O'Brien, who was represented by Keith Farry BL.

Mr O'Brien proposed a new 30-year interest-only mortgage at a tracker rate of 0.8pc, giving a mortgage payment of €433 per month.

The court heard Mr O'Connor and his wife Audrey, who had an interlocking arrangement approved, did not meet eligibility criteria for the Government's mortgage-to-rent scheme. It was also told they could not afford open market rent and that social housing would cost €445 a month.

The arrangement noted the likelihood of securing social housing in Co Meath was remote given current waiting list numbers.

The couple are directors of Keal-Ryan Properties Ltd.

Their family home was re-mortgaged twice in 2005 and 2007 to provide funds to invest in the business and to buy an investment property.

But these did not provide expected returns due to the property crash and recession.

Irish Independent