Friday 19 January 2018

Husband of FG senator must pay builder €12,000

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A BUILDER awarded over €12,000 from the husband of senator Fidelma Healy Eames after he had been forced off a job at their home has revealed how his family were left "without a penny" over Christmas.

Michael Allen, from Oranmore in Galway, said they struggled after he was dismissed from the job in 2009.

Mr Allen and his wife Phil were building their own home at the time but were forced to stop work on that when the money dried up.

At one stage he feared that his business would collapse.

"They only live a mile and a half away. We pass them all the time," he told the Irish Independent yesterday outside court.

"My company came close to collapsing. If it wasn't for Bank of Ireland and my wife standing by me, I don't know what would have happened."

His wife added: "We were left with no money coming into the Christmas. We had our little boy Oisin to think about."

Yesterday, Mr Allen won a civil case he had taken against Michael Eames for the work he carried out. He had claimed that he was owed in the region of €23,000. Judge Rory McCabe awarded him €12,413.

However, the judge dismissed a case against Ms Healy Eames, saying he was satisfied that she wasn't intimately or even peripherally involved.

Ms Healy Eames said she felt vindicated, adding: "I'm delighted with the outcome. The judge dismissed the case against me. And the judge reduced the claim against my husband Michael by a significant sum, more than €10,000."

Ruling in favour of Mr Allen at Galway Civil Circuit Court yesterday, the judge found that a contract had existed between Mr Eames and Mr Allen for work to be carried out at the three-storey home at Oranmore in Co Galway.

He also dismissed a counter-claim that Mr Allen's work was not up to standard.

Mr Allen had sued the couple for alleged non-payment for plumbing work. He claimed that he was paid only €13,000 of the €28,840 he quoted for plumbing and heating works before he was taken off the job in November 2009.

He claimed that he also began a refurbishment of their garage, which Ms Healy Eames was eager to complete for use as a Fine Gael boardroom and that when additional costs were taken into account, including work on the garage, he was owed in the region of €23,000.

Ruling in his favour, the judge said; "The fact that the defendant tried to rewrite the contract and force the plaintiff to accept a new deal at less than the agreed price speaks for itself."

Ms Healy Eames had dismissed claims that she was building a boardroom in her garage as "a terrible thing to say".

Mr Eames claimed that he had never requested the work on the garage to go ahead and had put a halt to it immediately on becoming aware of it.

But the judge said: "The defendant's version of events is implausible."

Judge McCabe also dismissed claims from Mr Eames that he had requested Mr Allen to continue the job, stating that a letter sent to that effect was simply a "set-up letter", which had been sent to set up a counter-claim.

Irish Independent

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