Monday 22 January 2018

NAMA set to take €6m home of Priory Hall developer

Christine Connolly outside court
Christine Connolly outside court
Laurence O’Mahony, one of the Priory Hall developers

Ray Managh

A UK bankruptcy official has cleared the way for NAMA to repossess the €6m home of Priory Hall developer Laurence O'Mahony.

Mr O'Mahony, and his wife, Christine Connolly, have been told that the Trustee in Bankruptcy in the UK, where he declared himself bankrupt, will not oppose efforts by NAMA to seize the house in Ballsbridge, Dublin.

Mr O'Mahony told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday he had been adjudicated a bankrupt in England in April 2011 and a year later had been "discharged from all bankruptcy debt".

He claimed his €6.5m liability to NAMA subsidiary National Asset Loan Management Ltd (NALM) was a bankruptcy debt and accordingly on the date of his discharge from bankruptcy in April 2012 he had been released from this liability.

Mr O'Mahony was a partner with Tom McFeely in the development of Priory Hall, which turned into a safety issues disaster for residents.

Michael McDowell, for the debt recovery agency, sought an order for possession of 'Mugnano', 7 Shrewsbury Road, Ballsbridge, against which four mortgages totalling €6.75m had initially been granted by Irish Nationwide Building Society.

The court heard that the last payment on the mortgages was made in 2010 and €6.5m was still outstanding on the debt.

Ms Connolly said she had resided at the house since December 1999 and had married Mr O'Mahony in June 2004.

Mr O'Mahony said his wife, who lives in the house with the couple's three children, had a significant equitable interest in the family home. He accepted his bankruptcy discharge did not prejudice any security held by NALM, if valid, over his family home.


Barristers Seamus Breen, for Mr O'Mahony, and Frank Beatty, for Ms Connolly, said they had received from Mr McDowell just before the court sat a "potentially game-changing" letter from the UK Trustee in Bankruptcy stating he had no interest in the property.

The letter stated that because the house was so heavily indebted, the Trustee, in whom the property was vested under the English bankruptcy, had no interest in defending a claim for possession and was willing to have such an order made by the Irish court.

The matter was adjourned to allow Mr Breen and Mr Beatty take further instructions on the matter.

Irish Independent

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