Sunday 25 February 2018

McFeely declared bankrupt after bitter court fight

Dearbhail McDonald and Tim Healy

THE woman who has waged a long-running legal battle with Priory Hall developer Tom McFeely has said she will fight him every step of the way if he tries to overturn his bankruptcy.

Yesterday the former IRA hunger striker, who owes some €200m to NAMA -- and owes multi-million euro debts to the Revenue Commissioners -- was declared bankrupt in the High Court after two failed bids to be declared so in the UK.

Lay litigant Theresa McGuinness, who opposed Mr McFeely's UK bankruptcy, succeeded in having the controversial developer adjudicated as a bankrupt.

Ms McGuinness, of Rush, Co Dublin, bought a house from one of Mr McFeely's companies, Coalport, in 2006 and was awarded €100,000 in damages in 2009 after the property was found to have serious structural faults. Last year, she applied to the courts to have him made a bankrupt because he failed to pay the debt.

Mr McFeely (64) opposed the bankruptcy, claiming he would be 76 by the time he could get back into business if declared bankrupt here because of our strict bankruptcy regime -- while it would be just a year before he could get started again if it was in the UK.

His lawyers indicated that he would appeal the ruling.

Mr McFeely is facing a number of legal battles at present.

A bench warrant has been issued for his arrest after he failed to comply with an order to pay instalments on a debt of just over €24,000 to a Dublin recruitment company.

Separately, his family are facing eviction today from their upmarket Ailesbury Road home after it was repossessed by NAMA. And this morning the Supreme Court will give its ruling on Mr McFeely's appeal against a three-month prison sentence imposed by the High Court for failing to fix fire safety problems at Priory Hall.

Last night Ms McGuinness said she was "absolutely delighted" and said she will "diligently contest" any appeal against the bankruptcy.

Residence

Giving judgment in the High Court, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne rejected arguments by Mr McFeely's lawyer that his centre of main business interest was the UK. Ms McGuinness then asked the High Court here to declare that the main centre of his business interests was the Republic of Ireland.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Dunne said on the basis of information provided by Ms McGuinness, but also on information provided by Mr McFeely himself, she was satisfied his residence and main centre of business interest is in this country.

She then found him bankrupt at the request of Ms McGuinness.

Ms Justice Dunne was told Mr McFeely was not in court, but said he should have been. She ordered he attend in person with the court's official assignee in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane, and provide an up-to-date address. His assets and debts are now under the control of Mr Lehane.

Irish Independent

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