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First Active in pursuit of €16m

A COUPLE are being pursued by First Active plc for €16.3m under personal guarantees provided by them over loans made to a company for property development.

The proceedings against Eugene and Deirdre O'Neill of Osberstown Lodge Naas, Kildare, were admitted to the Commercial Court yesterday on the application of First Active.

The case arises from guarantees allegedly provided by the defendants over the liabilities of Apex Estates Ltd of Maynooth. On January 15 last, First Active sought payment from the defendants arising from their guarantees and brought the legal proceedings when payment was not made. It claims some €16.3m is due and owing.

Developer in court over loan

A BANK is seeking €8.4m summary judgment orders against a Donegal property developer on foot of personal guarantees provided by him over loans.

The action by Bank of Scotland Ireland Ltd (BOSI) against Charles Fergus, Ceol na Mara, Bundoran, was admitted to the Commercial Court yesterday.

Counsel for Mr Fergus said he had no instructions yet as to a defence to the case and needed time to consider the papers. The judge adjourned the proceedings to April 19.

French strike causes chaos

A strike today in France is expected to disrupt trains, transport, postal services and schools as unions aim a new blow at President Nicolas Sarkozy following his party's drubbing in regional elections.

The train strike was expected to cancel about a third of France's TGV fast trains, the SNCF rail network said. Unions said Mr Sarkozy's government hasn't offered satisfactory plans on jobs, salaries and working conditions.

Disaster made dinosaurs king

Dinosaurs came to rule the world as a result of a mass extinction similar to the one that killed them off and allowed mammals to take over the planet, research has shown. History was repeating itself when a climate change disaster ended the 200 million-year reign of the "terrible lizards", leaving dinosaurs the dominant creatures on earth, evidence suggests.