Friday 23 August 2019

'When you only have one side of the story, it looks horrific' - restaurateur Ronan Ryan on not having to pay €1.2m debt on home

  • 'We've got the threats and the hate mail and the hate messages'
  • Said he and wife tried to sell the house on three previous occasions
Ronan Ryan and Pamela Flood Photo: Gerry Mooney
Ronan Ryan and Pamela Flood Photo: Gerry Mooney

Amy Molloy and Ray Managh

RESTAURATEUR Ronan Ryan says he and his wife Pamela Flood have received "threats and hate mail" after it was agreed they can walk away without paying any of the €1.2 million debt owed against their north Dublin home.

Mr Ryan and the former Miss Ireland star were told that they will also not have to pay the legal costs bill incurred by two banks while trying to re-possess their family home at 136 Mount Prospect Avenue, in leafy Clontarf, Dublin 3.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Mr Ryan said the story "looks horrific" when you only have one side of it.

"It's just one side [you hear in court], it looks horrific... it looks like we sat in a house for nine years looking for a free place to live, but we were paying interest all along until we were told not to," he said.

‘Rock solid’: Restaurateur Ronan Ryan and former TV presenter Pamela Flood married in 2014. Photo: David Conachy
‘Rock solid’: Restaurateur Ronan Ryan and former TV presenter Pamela Flood married in 2014. Photo: David Conachy

"We've got the threats and the hate mail and the hate messages and the Twitter pile ons, but both sides of the story weren't told. I wasn't allowed speak, I wasn't in the court, but look it is what it is."

Mr Ryan said the "real story is how a vulture fund buys a loan at a discount and sells it for three times the amount".

He said they tried to sell the house on three previous occasions but "the offers weren't high enough".

"Different people have had the loan over a different period of time. We would have been gone in 2011, 2013 and 2016 only for they wanted the asset to appreciate, which it has massively. Now they walk off into the sunset with the money. I have no animosity towards them but this is the fourth time we've tried to sell the house.

"We had to pack our bags and take my pregnant wife out of the house every Saturday so people could view it the first time around but they weren't happy and wanted the asset to appreciate and we were told to remain in the house."

The couple gave the American-owned Tanager bank an undertaking they and their children will have vacated the property by July 9 next.

"We're looking around elsewhere. As soon as we have something else, we'll be out," he said.

The businessman was critical of how they didn't get to give their version of events in the Circuit Civil Court.

When asked to give his side today, he said: "That's a bit like knocking someone down and saying afterwards I could have blown the horn."

The court heard on Friday how the couple had been living in their family home rent free for the past nine years.

Ms Flood and Mr Ryan, who had taken out a €1.1 million mortgage with Bank of Scotland just before Christmas 2006, had consented to the court granting Tanager an order for possession against them.

The bank said it would undertake to limit the couple’s indebtedness to whatever it could recover from the sale of the property -- no legal costs, no repayment of €374,000 arrears they had built up since 2010 and no liability for the €1.25 million outstanding on the mortgage.

The court heard how the bank had agreed to a stay on the execution of the order for four months on condition the couple delivered up vacant possession of the house, worth up to €800,000, along with “all keys, fobs, electronic access devices and alarm codes” and an undertaking to co-operate with an auctioneer to show off the property.

Mr Ryan said when they first tried to sell the house, it was worth "around €500,000."

The couple now have up to four months to find alternative accommodation for themselves and their four children.

The court heard earlier that Ryan (48) had not paid anything off his €1.1 million mortgage since August 2010. His 47-year-old wife had not been named on the 2006 mortgage documents with Bank of Scotland but had been joined as a Notice Party to the proceedings following her marriage to Ryan in 2014.

Tanager, described as an American-owned vulture fund, has a registered office at Clanwilliam Square, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin. It snapped up more than 2,000 distressed Irish home loans almost 10 years ago at heavily discounted rates from Bank of Scotland. More than 90 per cent of those loans were two years or more in arrears.

Ryan used to own three restaurants which were hit by the financial recession of 2008. Flood, a former host of Off the Rails television series and several RTE shows, was to have presented a TV3 documentary series about older mothers but this was shelved after Virgin Media took over the station.  The former model and now mother of four won the Miss Ireland pageant 26 years ago.

She has stated in the past that despite her own career difficulties and those of her husband their marriage was rock solid.

Under the agreement the couple, after a period of two weeks following today’s court case, will facilitate house sales representatives access to their home for the purpose of photographing and assessing the property for inclusion in sales brochures.

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