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Strain shows on faces of those facing eviction from family homes

"It's all I'm asking for, one last adjournment. Please."

It was in tones of sheer desperation that the struggling defendant addressed the court in a last-ditch effort to save his property.

Rising to his feet and fixing Judge Elizabeth Dunne with an anxious gaze, he proffered a letter, detailing his application for social welfare relief that could net him between €1,500 and €2,000 a month.

The words tumbled out: "If I could just get an adjournment until early April. I still have a business. I believe if I could get that money I'm half way there. I'd be grateful, judge, if you could do that".

Looking at the figures that had led him to this sorry situation in the High Court, it was easy to understand the desperation. He had taken out a loan of €624,000 in July 2007 with GE Capital Woodchester Home Loans Ltd.

However, he has only made three repayments, never once managing to meet the full monthly amount of €4,500. The arrears now stand at €121,632, and there has been no payment made since June 2008.

Despite the alarming figures, the Mayo man was still eager for another adjournment, citing social welfare relief as his final chance.

"I believe if I could get that money I'm half way there," he insisted.

Judge Dunne was moved to comment: "That begs the question why you haven't been paying half until now".

Nonetheless, his persistence earned him one final adjournment, proving that for even the bleakest situation, it always pays to show up in court.

Yet, for one unfortunate Carlow man, the nerve-wracking trip to the High Court ended in panic after he collapsed while addressing Judge Dunne.

Emergency services were summoned and the man was removed to hospital. It was a distressing end to a court appearance that had seen him fighting an execution order on a possession order for land in Carlow.

Yesterday's hearing of the Chancery summons list resulted in four orders for possession.

Penthouse

Among them was an order granted to Allied Irish Banks in respect of two penthouse apartments at addresses in Dublin.

The court heard how the defendant secured a loan in 2004 but made repayments sporadically. The amount now outstanding is €680,920.

"It's a considerable sum", remarked Judge Dunne, who granted the order for possession.

She explained: "There have been effectively no payments for over three years and there doesn't appear to be any explanation from the defendant".

A stay of three months was agreed, allowing time for the tenants to vacate both properties.

In another case, a Tipperary developer lost his battle to retain two properties. He had taken out a loan for just under €8m from EBS to buy a site in Nenagh, with the loan secured by two properties.

He then claimed he had been wrongly advised about the value of the site. Judge Dunne granted an order for possession on the two properties, but adjourned proceedings over the site. It is sowed with wheat and the owner hopes to secure a stay on the possession order to allow him to harvest the crops in September.

However, his trip to the High Court is a costly business, with the judge also awarding costs to the plaintiff.

The defendant had other ideas, suggesting: "I should pay mine and he should pay his".

Judge Dunne informed him that costs follow the event, "unless there are exceptional circumstances".

Ripples of strained laughter ran through the room as the man insisted: "I don't have the money to pay it", prompting the judge to point out: "That's not an exceptional circumstance, you won't be surprised to hear".


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