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Monday 17 June 2019

Feighan is latest TD pursued in courts over bank debt

MAEVE SHEEHAN

BANK of Ireland has taken legal action against the Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan -- making him the latest public representative to fall victim to the recession.

The bank started legal proceedings against the TD for Roscommon and South Leitrim on July 30 over a loan of about €300,000.

Mr Feighan -- who has extensive property interests in Ireland and overseas -- said the loan related to the family business in his native Boyle.

He said he was "very surprised" that the bank moved against him in the High Court, but was confident the case could be resolved. "It's with my solicitor and I expect a positive outcome," he said.

Mr Feighan, who was raised above his parents' well-known corner newsagents, worked in the business before his move into politics and his own property interests.

When the business needed a capital injection in recent years, Mr Feighan agreed to guarantee a commercial loan, which left him exposed to a debt of around €300,000.

"The bank would only release an injection on the condition that I went guarantor," he said.

Despite the capital injection, the business stopped trading in January 2010.

Bank of Ireland's case against Mr Feighan is a sign of the times, however, reflecting the huge growth in legal actions as financial institutions call in loans to small commercial borrowers.

"There are a lot of issues out there. The banks have a job to do but there has to be a better way than rushing to judgement," he said.

The Fine Gael TD is one of several politicians to be pursued for debts through the court, the most high-profile of whom is his party colleague and Health Minister, James Reilly.

Dr Reilly was named in Stubbs Gazette over a €1.9m debt owed to investors in a private nursing home -- the first time a government minister featured on the debt defaulters' list.

Outside of Fine Gael, the independent TD and former developer Mick Wallace is being sued for €19m by ACC.

Diarmuid Wilson, a Fianna Fail senator, was also pursued by AIB for €1.8m, along with two other investors.

Mr Feighan said he is managing his other properties. According to the Dail's register of interests, Mr Feighan earns an income from properties in Roscommon, Sligo and Dublin.

His overseas properties are in Arachon, France, and in Bulgaria. He also declared shares in Ryanair, in Cisco Technology, in three mining firms and in Bank of Ireland.

Sunday Independent

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