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Pony coach in €35,000 row over horsebox


Anne-Marie Dunphy

Anne-Marie Dunphy

Anne-Marie Dunphy

A leading horsewoman and dressage coach told a High Court judge that her career had been jeopardised by the unlawful seizure of her only horse transporter.

Anne-Marie Dunphy paid €125,000 for the Winnebago-type horsebox, which can transport seven horses and sleep three assistants.

Barrister Colm Hennessy said it had been seized on foot of a disputed service bill of more than €35,000.

He said Ms Dunphy, pony dressage team manager for the Irish Equestrian Federation and sole selector of the Irish pony team, had left the Scania Horsebox for a service with Paul and Breda Doyle, directors of Deoval Limited, Knocknagee, Co Carlow.

She had paid their company with a cheque but when she called to collect it on August 14, he said that she had been presented with a bill for previous services totalling €35,594 and told she was not getting it back until something was done.

Ms Dunphy, in an affidavit, told the court she bought the horsebox in 2006 and had it serviced occasionally with Deoval.

She said she had a "loose, casual and informal payment relationship" with the Doyles, but fundamentally disputed the alleged €35,000-plus debt.

Ms Dunphy said she had been shocked and upset when Ms Doyle presented her with "such an enormous bill" and claimed she would owe them €8,000 at most.

When she was refused return of the truck on August 14, her partner rang a garda friend, but was told it was a civil matter.

Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon granted Ms Dunphy, of The Cottage, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, liberty to notify Deoval of her intention to seek injunctions on Thursday relating to the purported unlawful seizure.

The application had been brought ex parte - in the absence of Deoval or any company representation.

Irish Independent