Wednesday 13 November 2019

'Running battle' as ex-minister Callely contests claim for €2.9m

Papers: Ivor Callely’s case was adjourned for two weeks. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Papers: Ivor Callely’s case was adjourned for two weeks. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Tim Healy

Former junior minister Ivor Callely's second-hand car business meant a summons server was able to meet him personally to give him legal papers over an alleged €2.9m debt, the Commercial Court heard.

But Mr Callely was described by a finance company's counsel as being involved in a "running battle" over service on him of the court documents.

He claims he is in hospital five days a week recovering from a "horrific bicycle accident last August".

However, Cian Ferriter, for Everyday Finance company, said despite his situation, it was quite clear Mr Callely had resumed business and is now involved in second hand car sales.

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Summons server Liam Farrell, who was employed on behalf of Everyday's solicitors to serve the papers on Mr Callely, said in an affidavit he arrived at a home address given by Mr Callely at Howth Road, Killester, Dublin, on October 18. There was a sign over one door at the premises, which comprises a number of buildings, stating 'Car Match Ireland'.

Making contact through a phone number on the sign with a man who called himself Oliver, they agreed to meet on Saturday, October 19 in the Clare Hall shopping centre car park to view a Mini.

Mr Farrell recognised the man who arrived in the Mini as Mr Callely. Mr Farrell said he put the papers on the lap of the former senator when he opened the door of the Mini.

Mr Callely ran over and attached the envelope to Mr Farrell's windscreen wiper, the summons server said.

The description is disputed by Mr Callely who claims Mr Farrell threw the papers at him and walked off without saying a word, Mr Ferriter said.

Mr Callely said he would never accept something from a person he did not know in a public car park.

Everyday Finance is seeking judgment for €2.9m against Ivor and Jennifer Callely relating to €2.4m in loans advanced to them by AIB to purchase investment properties. The loans were sold to Everyday Finance in 2018.

It is seeking to have the case admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court, but Mr Ferriter said while Ms Callely has been served and represented in court, there were difficulties in serving Mr Callely.

Following the Clare Hall incident, Mr Callely sent a letter to Everyday's solicitors claiming he did not have a relationship with Everyday Finance, counsel said.

Mr Ferriter said it appeared he was well aware of the proceedings and is using his former family home address of St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, the address also given by Mr Callely's wife from whom he is apparently separated.

The papers were again served at the Lawrence Road address and Mr Callely rang Everyday's solicitor last Friday and said he was not in a position to attend court because of his medical situation.

Mr Callely, in correspondence, said the bicycle accident had necessitated spinal surgery.

While there was medical evidence dated September 19 last stating it was likely to be several weeks before he can resume his business practice, counsel said it was quite clear he had resumed business. He was also physically able to run over to the summons server's car, counsel said.

Mr Justice David Barniville agreed to adjourn both Mr and Mrs Callely's cases for two weeks.

"I would be satisfied he has been properly served and the evidence does not paint a very pretty picture," the judge said.

Irish Independent

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