Thursday 14 December 2017

Legal dispute over missing money between ballroom dance partners - who met at hotel nearly half a century ago - now settled

The couple met at a dance nearly half a century ago
The couple met at a dance nearly half a century ago

Ray Managh

Legal proceedings between ballroom dance partners, who struck up a life-long romance after meeting at an afternoon tea dance in Jury’s hotel nearly half a century ago, have been settled.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard in the Circuit Civil Court that 88-year-old Dublin woman Mary Cunningham had been embroiled in a legal dispute over missing money with family attorneys of her dance and relationship partner John Condron, now suffering from dementia and in care.

The judge had earlier directed Ms Cunningham, of Brookwood Rise, Artane, to provide the court with full and specific details of withdrawals she had made from a joint account held by the couple and which once totalled €86,470.

Barrister Mark O’Riordan, counsel for Mr Condron’s attorneys Paul and Ann Condron, had told an earlier hearing that Ms Cunningham was attempting to maintain that she had some form of qualified co-habitant status relating to 7 Cormac Street, Tullamore, Mr Condron’s former address.

He said title documents to the property which the Condron attorneys believed would have been kept at No 7 could not be located.  An advertisement had been placed in the Law Society Gazette seeking information about the deeds.

The court heard that Ms Cunningham had suffered a stroke and Karen Rodgers had been appointed as her Guardian Ad Litem.  Mr O’Riordan said Ms Rodgers had helped bring about a speedy settlement to the dispute.

Mr O’Riordan, who appeared with Sandra Mahon of O’Donovan, Mahon, Cowen Solicitors, told the court that Ms Cunningham had withdrawn more than half of the €86,470 in the account.

Judge Linnane was told that more than €40,000 remained in a post office savings account in Ms Cunningham’s name and An Post had earlier given an undertaking to hold on to the funds until further order of the court.

Ms Cunningham’s son, Ray, had told the court she had spent more than €10,000 of the money she had withdrawn on providing downstairs wheelchair access around her home and on an upstairs bathroom which would allow a disable person to live in her home.

She had divided up and shared with her 16 grandchildren the remainder of the money she had taken from the joint account.

Mr O’Riordan told Judge Linnane the case had been settled and €10,000 held in a solicitors account would be paid to the Condron attorneys and just over €44,000 held by An Post Savings Bank would be transferred to solicitors for Mr Condron’s attorneys.

Ms Cunningham, defending by her Guardian Ad Litem Karen Rodgers, An Post and the National Treasury Management Agency had been listed as defendants in the case.

Judge Linnane, striking out the proceedings, said Karen Rodgers had acted wisely and speedily in dealing with the matter since having been appointed Guardian to Ms Cunningham and had saved much money in legal costs.

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