Account freezing orders lifted

Fri, Oct 12, 2012, 01:00

THE HIGH Court has lifted account freezing orders on consent against two relatives of a Co Mayo woman alleged to have fraudulently misappropriated €130,000 from a retired priest. A freezing order against Mary McLoughlin remains in place.

Fr Vincent Kelly’s sister Ann Geary has taken proceedings against Ms McLoughlin alleging the 86-year-old priest suffered great financial loss and damage due to her “deception, fraud, deceit and theft”. Ms McLoughlin had “preyed upon” Fr Kelly, she alleges.

Earlier this month, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy agreed to make a number of orders on an ex parte (one side only represented) basis, including an order prohibiting Ms McLoughlin, Corraugan, Kilmeena, Westport, Co Mayo, from reducing her assets below €51,713.

Freezing orders were also obtained ex parte against Ms McLoughlin’s nephew, Thomas McLoughlin, restraining him from dissipating his assets below €39,000 and against her niece, Tara McLoughlin, restraining reduction of her assets below €25,000.

Peadar Ó Maoláin, for Ms Geary, told Mr Justice Murphy yesterday “significant progress” had been made. The freezing orders against Thomas McLoughlin and Tara McLoughlin could be struck out on consent, but the freezing order against Mary McLoughlin was to remain in place, counsel said. The matter is expected to return to court later this month.

In an affidavit, Ms Geary, Pontoon, Foxford, Co Mayo, who has power of attorney over Fr Kelly’s affairs, said her brother’s memory had begun to fade in recent times.

She said Ms McLoughlin, who befriended Fr Kelly in 2011, worked as a senior social welfare officer based in Westport. Ms Geary said she had become suspicious about the nature of Ms McLoughlin’s relationship with her brother.

The family sought freezing orders after matters came to light that shocked and upset them, she declared. Those matters included concerns that Ms McLoughlin had been given joint control over bank accounts held by Fr Kelly at AIB, and that €123,000 of his money had been lodged to an Ulster Bank account and then removed or transferred by Ms McLoughlin,