Thursday 23 November 2017

Probe as 13 families paid 'rent' to mystery 'landlord'

Mr Justice Gilligan yesterday said that the matter was “very serious”. (Stock picture)
Mr Justice Gilligan yesterday said that the matter was “very serious”. (Stock picture)

Tim Healy

A judge wants gardaí to investigate how 13 families living in the same property came to be paying rent to an unknown person.

The families face eviction in a week.

The High Court heard a man called "Brian" was taking up to €200 a week from families in the Fairview, Dublin, property.

But this man did not represent the owner nor a receiver appointed by a bank to take possession, the court was told.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said the matter should be investigated by the gardaí because he fears that the families, which include 12 young children, living in eight units at the Annesley Bridge Road property, have been taken advantage of. Most of them are immigrants.

The judge re-affirmed orders sought by the receiver, Simon Coyle, requiring the families to give up vacant possession of the property by Wednesday.

Two of the residents said they have nowhere else to go.

The court heard that Mr Coyle was appointed receiver over the property by Bank of Ireland (BoI) in January 2015, but has been unable to take possession of the premises.

BoI appointed the receiver over a debt it claims it is owed by the property's owner, John Farrelly, otherwise known as John O'Farrelly, of Attractra Road, Cabra, Dublin.

Last November, Mr Coyle secured a High Court injunction preventing Mr Farrelly and all those occupying the premises from interfering with, trespassing on, dealing with or taking possession of the property.

As a result of an alleged breach of the injunction, the receiver returned to court seeking orders for the attachment and committal of Mr Farrelly and any other persons living there.

Mr Justice Gilligan yesterday said that the matter was "very serious".

Representing himself, Mr Farrelly denied he had breached the court orders. He said he went to the premises last week and told those living there that they had to leave.

Two men, Daniel Stoinan and Dumitru Vasile, told the court they are among the 13 families living at the property.

They said they were paying €180 to €200 per week in rent to the man called "Brian".

Declan Wade BL, for the receiver, said "Brian" did not act for his client and Mr Coyle "never got any rent" from people living at the property.

Mr Farrelly also said "Brian" was not collecting rent for him.

Mr Justice Gilligan said he was referring the matter to the Garda Commissioner for a fraud squad investigation.

Irish Independent

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