A HIGH Court dispute between a syndicate of banks and a firm run by socialite-turned-developer Gayle Killilea (pictured) looks set to proceed after a judge ruled her firm would not have to stump up €600,000 in legal costs in advance of a hearing.
The case is over an alleged outstanding bill of €1m for repair works carried out by Ms Killilea's company, Mavior, on two flooded Dublin hotels .
The hotels, the former Jurys and the Berkely Court in Ballsbridge, were previously controlled by Ms Killilea's husband, NAMA developer Sean Dunne.
The banks, which took over the running of the hotels after Mr Dunne failed to pay off hundreds of millions of euro in loans, claim he went ahead with a deal, unknown to them, to carry out refurbishments following flood damage in October 2011. They say the contract for the refurbishments awarded by Mr Dunne to Mavior was "unauthorised".
Now Ms Killilea's company is suing Zrko Ltd, the syndicate of lenders led by Ulster Bank, after Mavior was not paid in full for the work carried out.
Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan yesterday ruled Mavior was not obliged to provide security of legal costs before its case is heard.
The judge made the ruling after Zrko raised questions about the solvency of Ms Killilea's company.
The judge said it has been established in previous case law, as well as in common law, that poverty is not a bar to a litigant.
The costs of defending the claim are estimated at between €500,000 and €600,000, the judge noted.