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Pensioners given €16k damages in mortgage dispute

TWO pensioners who sued the Bank of Ireland for negligent misrepresentation of an endowment mortgage with which they bought their home have been awarded €16,000 damages.

The landmark decision is of vital importance to hundreds of others whose homes were linked to the stock exchange through endowment mortgages and is expected to spark a glut of claims.

Louis and Margaret Kilmartin, both in their 70s, were holidaying in Nice yesterday as Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, ruled in their favour.

The couple, who live in Strand Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin, had claimed in the Circuit Civil Court that they lost more than €22,000 over the 15-year lifetime of their mortgage.

Barrister David Hardimansaid they incurred the loss as a result of negligent advice by the bank of the superior security and return of endowment mortgages over annuity ones.

Judge Deery told Mr Hardiman, who appeared with David Richardson, he had been impressed with the clear recall of Mrs Kilmartin regarding her dealings with the bank in 1991.

If bank manager Pat Martin had warned Mrs Kilmartin on the telephone about the downside of taking out an endowment mortgage, as he claimed he had, it would have been natural to have repeated the warning, which he had not, in a follow-up letter of May 2, 1991.

Mrs Kilmartin had told the court that Mr Martin had recommended the endowment mortgage as the better type for them and she had gone along with his recommendation.

The court was satisfied the documentation supplied to the Kilmartins had not contained language highlighting the risks involved.