Saturday 24 March 2018

Woman told she and her family can live at home with mortgage debt of over €330,000 for another year

Rona Browne. Photo: CourtPix
Rona Browne. Photo: CourtPix

Ray Managh

Five years to the day since Rona Browne or her partner paid “a single penny” off a €300,000 mortgage debt, a judge told her today she and her family could live there for another year.

Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain in the Circuit Civil Court granted Ebs Mortgage Finance a possession order for Browne’s family home at 136 Killala Road, Cabra West, Dublin 7 but restrained the bank from executing the order for a year.

The judge said that in the meantime the court expected Browne to try and come to some arrangement with the bank about the debt which had now reached just over €330,000.

Browne, who has been representing herself at all court hearings over the last few years, was told by Judge Ni Chulachain today that her sole defence of lack of jurisdiction against a possession order had collapsed with the recent High Court finding of Mr Justice Michael White.

“I have jurisdiction since the High Court has ruled that any jurisdictional challenge applies only to houses built after 1977 and your home was built before that year,” Judge Ni Chulachain said.

She told Ms Browne, who said she had two children and the property was their family home, that she was granting an order for possession for No 136 in favour of the bank but putting a stay on the order for a year.

Judge Ni Chulachain said the court had noted that not a single penny had been paid off the mortgage since February 24, 2011. Today was the fifth anniversary of the last repayment against the loan that had been taken out by Browne and her partner Darren Mahoney in 2006.

The order for possession had been sought against both Browne and Mahoney, whose address was stated to be 257 Bannow Road, Cabra West, Dublin 7.  Judge Ni Chulachain made an order for costs against Mahoney in favour of the bank but made no costs order against Browne.

Browne told the court she had always engaged with the bank but had been unable to reach an agreement with them.  She said her former partner Darren Mahoney had neither engaged with the bank or the court.

“This has been my family home and has been my mother and father’s family home and the family home of my grandparents before them,” Browne told the court.

Judge Ni Chulachain told Ms Browne this had been coming upon her for a long time and, while she accepted she had engaged with the bank, not a penny had been paid off the debt.

She said the court had given Browne opportunities in the past and she was giving her a final opportunity to try and reach some agreement with the bank.  The matter would not be coming back before the court but her stay would continue for a year.

Browne told the judge:  “It is not very easy to do anything.  I have been in a dark place but I am stronger now than I have been.  I will try and negotiate with the bank.”

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