Monday 23 September 2019

Fears over lawyer's €600,000 deficit

Suspended solicitor Declan O’Callaghan, who has promised to pay back €600,000 to a client account, leaves the Four Courts in Dublin yesterday. Picture: Collins
Suspended solicitor Declan O’Callaghan, who has promised to pay back €600,000 to a client account, leaves the Four Courts in Dublin yesterday. Picture: Collins

Tim Healy

The Law Society is concerned the deficit on a suspended Roscommon solicitor's client account may exceed €600,000, the High Court heard.

Declan O'Callaghan, who practiced at Kilraine O'Callaghan, Pound Street, Ballaghaderreen, had undertaken to pay whatever the deficit amounted to, the court heard.

Nessa Bird, counsel for the Law Society, said the solicitor, in line with undertakings provided to the court, lodged €395,000 to address the deficit but a cheque for €144,000 of that sum had bounced.

The issue with the €144,000 was due to a problem with the lender not Mr O'Callaghan and the problem had been rectified, the court was told.

Ms Bird said Brendan Steen, a solicitor appointed as a joint manager of the practice, had identified it would be necessary to repay some €212,000 to the client account on top of the funds already paid. That made a deficit of some €600,000, she said.

The society had some concerns regarding the source of some of the money lodged to the client account in that they appeared to be loans from persons who appear to be clients, she said.

The society needed to ensure any such loans are properly vouched with built in waivers.

It also said further payments may be necessary.

Irish Independent

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