Saturday 24 March 2018

Irish Times journalist in love split gives up half €430,000 home and art collection

Ray Managh

TWO former colleagues and ex-live-in lovers have settled a court dispute over the home they shared for 13 years and their art collection.

Judge James O'Donohoe made an order for the sale of the €430,000 house at Boroimhe Poplars, Forest Road, Swords, Co Dublin, the net proceeds of which are to be split 50-50 between Barry O'Keeffe, former business editor of the Irish Times, and Paula Hatton, a former Irish Times marketing executive.

Judge O'Donohoe's order directed the sale of the house if Ms Hatton was unable to raise €125,000 to pay to Mr O'Keeffe as his share.

Barrister Noel Devitt, for Ms Hatton, told the court she would require a three-month stay on the order to allow her to arrange a finance plan with her bank and this was granted by Judge O'Donohoe.

Nuala Jackson, counsel for Mr O'Keeffe, told Judge O'Donohoe that the parties owned hundreds of collectables which also had to be proportionately split between them.

She said she had furnished Ms Hatton's legal team with a list of items, including some antiques, and said it ran to about 7,000.

Each item had been initialled as to who had bought or obtained it and she said the parties were also prepared to consider them being split on a 50-50 basis.

Mr Devitt told Judge O'Donohoe that some of the items, many collected during the boom times, were almost worthless today but the collection contained many gems.

He said they could realise up to €150,000.

Judge O'Donohoe said he was delighted the parties were amenable to a settlement both in the case of the house -- on which there was still a €117,000 mortgage -- and the disposal of the collectables.

Ms Jackson said Mr O'Keeffe was agreeable to the order for sale of the house on the basis it would not be sold to anyone connected with the parties.

She said he would be agreeable to the collectables being sold at auction on a 50-50 split basis with a similar proviso that none would be sold to anyone associated with the parties.

Mr Devitt told the court Ms Hatton was a former 'Irish Times' advertising executive who had worked with Mr O'Keeffe, a business section editor.

They had been co-habiting at Ms Hatton's home at Ormond Crescent, Swords. In 1999 they decided she would sell her home and jointly purchase the five-bedroom Forest Road house.

She took redundancy from the 'Irish Times' in 2002 and shortly afterwards the relationship ended. Mr O'Keeffe left the house in 2004.

An earlier court hearing was told the couple's collection included paintings, prints, furniture, ceramics, toys, advertising memorabilia, coins, medals, engravings, lithographs and a library including limited edition books and jewellery.

Irish Independent

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