Sunday 17 November 2019

Ex-minister Ivor Callely served legal papers at his second-hand car business, over alleged €2.9m debt, court hears

Ex-junior minister Ivor Callely. Picture: Andrew Phelan
Ex-junior minister Ivor Callely. Picture: Andrew Phelan

Tim Healy

Former junior minister Ivor Callely's second hand car business meant a summons server was able to meet him personally to give him legal papers over an alleged €2.9m debt, the Commercial Court heard

Mr Callely, who was described by a finance company’s counsel as being involved in a “running battle” over service on him of the court documents, claims he is in hospital five days a week recovering from a “horrific bicycle accident last August.

However, Cian Ferriter, for Everyday Finance company, said, despite his situation, it was quite clear he had resumed business and is now involved in second hand car sales.

Summons server Liam Farrell, who was employed on behalf of Everyday’s solicitors to serve the papers on Mr Callely, said in an affidavit he arrived at a home address given by Mr Callelly at Howth Road, Killester, Dublin, on October 18 last.

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There was a sign over one door at the premises, which comprises a number of buildings, stating “Car Match Ireland”.

Making contact through a phone number on the sign with a man who called himself Oliver, they agreed to meet on Saturday, October 19, in the Clare Hall shopping centre car park where “Oliver” would show Mr Farrell a Mini he was selling.

Mr Farrell recognised the man who arrived in the Mini as Mr Callely. Mr Farrell said he put the papers on the lap of the former senator when he opened the door of the Mini.

When Mr Farrell returned to his own car, Mr Callely ran over and attached the envelope to Farrell’s windscreen wiper, the summons server said. 

Mr Callely disputes this description and claims Farrell threw the papers at him and walked off without saying a word, Mr Ferriter said.

Mr Callely said he would never accept something from a person he did not know in a public car park.

Everyday Finance is seeking judgment for €2.9m against Ivor and Jennifer Callely relating to €2.4m in loans advanced to them by AIB to purchase investment properties.  The loans were sold to Everyday Finance in 2018.

Everyday is seeking to have the case admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court but Mr Ferriter said while Mrs Callely has been served and is represented in court, there were difficulties in serving Mr Callely.

Following the Clare Hall incident,  Mr Callely sent a letter to Everyday's solicitors claiming he did not have a relationship with Everyday Finance, counsel said.. 

Mr Ferriter said it appeared he was well aware of the proceedings and is using his former family home address of St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, the address also given by Mr Callely's wife from whom he is apparently separated.

The papers were again served at the Lawrence Road address and Mr Callely rang Everyday's solicitor last Friday and said he was not in a position to attend court because of his medical situation.

Mr Callely, in correspondence, said the bicycle accident had necessitated spinal surgery which meant he was very sick and an in-patient in hospital from Monday to Friday.  He is allowed home at the weekend as part of his medical programme.

While there was medical evidence dated September 19 last stating it was likely to be several weeks before he can resume his business practice, counsel said it was quite clear he had resumed business.  He was also physically able to run over to the summons server’s car, counsel said.

Notwithstanding that his side have been "given the runaround" , counsel said they were not going to push the application to enter the matter to the list but wanted it adjourned for another two weeks. In that time,  Mr Callely would again be served with the papers via email.

Mr Justice David Barniville agreed to adjourn both Mr and Mrs Callely's cases for two weeks.   "I would be satisfied he has been properly served and the evidence does not paint a very pretty picture," the judge said

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