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Builder 'hired Viper to collect €200k', court told

A COMPANY director claims a builder is using Dublin criminal Martin 'The Viper' Foley to try to collect a disputed debt of more than €200,000 from him.

Martin Sweeney has brought a High Court action against Daniel Lannon, whom he claims has engaged the services of the debt collection agency run by the Dublin criminal Martin 'The Viper' Foley as part of his attempt to be paid what Mr Lannon claims he is owed for works allegedly done more than three years ago.

Mr Sweeney, who denies he owes Mr Lannon money, has claimed that Mr Lannon has been harassing him by sending him text messages accusing him of lying and stealing, made phone calls to his home, place of work and his children's school as well as calling to his home.

He claims Mr Lannon's actions have blackened his reputation, and have caused stress and distress to his family.


Yesterday, the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns made various interim orders against Mr Lannon including that he not harass Mr Sweeney and his family, that he not trespass on Mr Sweeney's property, and that he not contact Mr Sweeney or members of his family.

The court further prohibited Mr Lannon, or his agents from watching or besetting Mr Sweeney's home or the school attended by his children. The orders were granted on an ex-parte basis, where only one party was present in court. The injunction was made returnable to next week.

Lawyers for Mr Sweeney, of Woodley Park, Stillorgan, Dublin, told the court the dispute dates back to 2009 when it is alleged that Mr Sweeney did not pay Mr Lannon, of Burnell Square, Malahide Road, Dublin, for works done at two Dublin properties between August 2008 and April 2009.

High Court proceedings were brought arising out of that dispute, the court heard. In an affidavit, Mr Sweeney said he recently received an e-mail from Mr Lannon stating he was no longer pursuing Mr Sweeney through the courts. Mr Lannon said he was pursuing the money he was owed through a debt collection agency.

Another text message from Mr Lannon said that his agent would collect his (Lannon's) money, that he would get paid every cent he was owed and that he (Sweeney) "destroyed his life with your lies".

Mr Sweeney said last month an agent of Viper Debt Recovery and Repossession Services called to his house and gave him a letter, signed by Martin Foley, which said it now acted for Mr Lannon and sought payment for outstanding debts almost €250,000 from him.

Mr Sweeney also said in another recent incident, Mr Lannon called to Mr Sweeney's home, rang the doorbell and asked to speak with him. The gardai, who have been informed of all various matters, were called and spoke to Mr Lannon.

He also said that on another occasion Mr Lannon rang him and told him that he was at school attended by Mr Sweeney's children, which is also close to where Mr Sweeney's wife works.

Mr Sweeney said that shortly afterwards his wife rang him to say that someone called Lannon had called the school, spoke to the principal and had asked that his (Lannon's) name and phone number be passed on to Mrs Sweeney.

Mr Sweeney says that the proper forum for the dispute is the High Court, and that Mr Lannon's behaviour amounts to harassment and an abuse of process.