Friday 13 December 2019

Mother ‘knew nothing of eviction until sheriff called to throw her family out’

Jacqueline Dunne of Verscoyle Avenue, Saggart Abbey, Dublin leaving court today. Photo: Collins
Jacqueline Dunne of Verscoyle Avenue, Saggart Abbey, Dublin leaving court today. Photo: Collins

Ray Managh

A mother of two, who knew nothing of her home having been re-possessed until the sheriff called to throw her family out, has been given five weeks by a judge to stop what was an inevitable eviction.

Jacqueline Dunne told the Circuit Civil Court today that when the ICS Building Society moved to take back her family home at Verscoyle Avenue, Saggart Abbey, Dublin, her husband, John, “buried his head in the sand” and kept the catastrophic news from her.

Barrister James Phillips, counsel for Ms Dunne, said ICS obtained a possession order in April 2012.  She had known nothing about it until the Sheriff arrived just under a year later to evict them but had held off executing the order when Ms Dunne explained she knew nothing about it.

Ms Dunne told Judge Jacqueline Linnane she had never seen the bank’s claim for possession or any other documents.

“After the sheriff’s visit to my home I confronted my husband about it and he informed me he had opened and retained all registered letters from the bank and kept me in the dark about the proceedings,” she said.

Having learned about the “catastrophe” she had forced her husband to consult a solicitor who wrote alerting the bank to the fact she, as a joint mortgage holder, had been wholly unaware of the proceedings.

The bank’s solicitors had indicated it intended to proceed with the judgment and remove them from their home on April 25 next.

Ms Dunne said she had no prospect of finding alternative accommodation for herself and the children within the next fortnight. 

“I cannot conceive of turning to them now and telling them we have to pack up and leave the house where we have lived since 1999,” she said.

She told the court there was still estimated equity of almost €200,000 in the property on which total outstanding debt to the bank was just over €120,000.

Ms Dunne said she and her husband were willing to re-start monthly payments to the bank while negotiating a more palatable solution otherwise than in the teeth of a threatened eviction.

Judge Linnane said she would grant an ex-parte order staying the possession order until May 16.  She noted Ms Dunne intended entering negotiations with the bank.

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