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Father pleads for court's mercy to halt repossession action

A FATHER threw himself on the mercy of the court as he attempted to halt a bid to have his family home sold to pay back monies owed.

The man's case was just one of dozens listed before the High Court yesterday, which heard tales of struggling people surrendering houses, rapidly spiralling mortgage arrears and difficulties servicing debts.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted six possession orders for premises, including family homes, public houses and abandoned properties.

The court heard a judgment mortgage had been made against the man's family home, which meant it could be sold if he failed to meet a contractual debt. The man owed €39,900 as a result of a High Court judgment a few years ago over a deal involving horses.

The debt has since mounted to €60,000 despite one payment of €10,000.

"It was my stupidity at the time, I should have gone and got a solicitor," he said. The man told how he had suffered a "breakdown" and had been unable to deal with it.

The man's wife has not attended any of the hearings, citing mental health issues on one occasion. His wife and children are living in the family home in Co Louth. He had stayed at home and raised the children, while his wife had worked and paid the mortgage.

"You can't keep fobbing it off and I certainly don't want to see your family home being sold," the judge said.

"I understand, Your Honour, I am looking for the mercy of the court for my family," the man replied.

The judge gave him until mid-April to make a €10,000 payment or an order for sale would be made.

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"I understand how tough it is for you and other people in your situation," the judge said. "I am giving you as much leeway as I can."

The judge said the man's wife would have to be notified and the situation was all the "more tragic" as it was not her fault.

The judge also granted a possession order for the family home of a couple with four children in Ballyfermot, Dublin, after lender GE Capital Woodchester Home Loans told the court the parties had failed to make contact in recent months.

They were now more than €26,000 in arrears and hadn't paid anything off since last year.

On the day the State took a stake in Bank of Ireland, the lender won possession of a public house, after the mortgage holder had failed to meet repayments on the Co Westmeath premises since mid-2008.

It was also granted possession of a property in Co Kerry with more than €300,000 outstanding on the mortgage. Subprime lender Start Mortgages was granted possession of two properties in Co Roscommon.

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