Meagher surrenders passport to court
Commercial landlord says he will address contempt relating to NIB debt case
John Meagher arriving at the Four Courts yesterday. Photograph: Collins/Courts
Commercial landlord John Meagher has agreed before the Commercial Court to surrender his passport and take steps to address his contempt of orders requiring him disclose his assets to a bank pursuing him for almost €7 million.
Mr Meagher, whose arrest was ordered last month by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, appeared voluntarily before him yesterday. He said he was based in India and Sri Lanka over the past few months and was unaware of the court proceedings until a friend rang him to say he was “all over the papers”. He was involved in a resort development in the Tamil area, he said.
While he apologised to the court and appreciated it took the matter seriously, he regarded it as a “business matter” and did not understand the attitude adopted by Danske Bank, trading as National Irish Bank, towards him.
The judge told Mr Meagher he was in contempt and should be in custody but was not because gardaí had been unable to execute the warrant. Mr Meagher was in “a very serious position”, he must address the bank’s concerns and not leave the State until he did.
Mr Justice Kelly said it was “very unsatisfactory” that he claimed he knew nothing about this case when he was involved in another court case in which solicitors representing him were informed about this case, he added.
Mr Meagher initially said his passport might be in Cobh, Co Cork, but later said it might be in Dublin. After a short adjournment, he produced it. The judge adjourned the case to Tuesday to allow him to address various issues.
Danske Bank had on June 24th obtained orders directing gardaí to arrest Mr Meagher over his failure to provide by mid-June a sworn statement of his assets as ordered in preparation for a court examination about his assets scheduled for today. It sought those orders over his failure to pay a €6.98 million judgment obtained last February over unpaid loans secured on five properties at Charlemont Street, Dublin.
Rossa Fanning, for the bank, said yesterday it had received no communication from Mr Meagher and he had still not provided the sworn statement of means.
Mr Meagher argued the bank was being “disingenuous” in relation to its dealings with him as he was a client for 17 years and in contact with it until January last.
The bank had sent the case documents to a house in Ashbourne, Co Meath, where he never lived. When in Ireland he stayed in Cobh, Co Cork, and at a property owned by him in Dorset Street, Dublin, he said.
He had spoken last Friday about the contempt matter to solicitors acting for him in another case brought by him against Dublin City Council and was told there were issues he had to address and he had to be in court on July 10th.
Mr Meagher rejected Mr Fanning’s suggestion that his lawyers must have contacted him and he had told them not to accept service of the documents on his behalf.