Builder 'hired Dublin criminal to collect debt'
A COMPANY director has brought High Court proceedings over a builder’s alleged campaign of harassment and intimidation arising from a disputed debt of more than €200,000.
Martin Sweeney has sued Daniel Lannon who, he claims, engaged the services of the debt-collection agency run by Dublin criminal Martin “the Viper” Foley in an attempt to be paid money allegedly owed for work allegedly done more than three years ago.
Mr Sweeney, who denies he owes Mr Lannon money, claimed Mr Lannon has sent him text messages accusing him of lying and stealing, made phone calls to his home, place of work and children’s school, and also called to his home.
The defendant’s actions have blackened his reputation and caused stress and distress to him and his family, he claims.
Yesterday, the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, made interim orders against Mr Lannon restraining him harassing or contacting Mr Sweeney or his family or trespassing on Mr Sweeney’s property. They also restrain Mr Lannon or his agents watching or besetting Mr Sweeney’s home or the school attended by his children.
The orders were granted on an ex-parte (only one side present) basis and returned to next week.
Counsel for Mr Sweeney, Woodley Park, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, said the dispute dates back to 2009, when it is alleged Mr Sweeney did not pay Mr Lannon, Burnell Square, Malahide Road, Dublin, for work carried out to two Dublin properties between August 2008 and April 2009. High Court proceedings were brought arising out of that dispute, the court heard.
In an affidavit, Mr Sweeney said he recently received an email from Mr Lannon stating he was no longer pursuing Mr Sweeney through the courts but was pursuing the money he was owed through a debt-collection agency.
Another text message from Mr Lannon said his agent would collect the money, Mr Lannon would be paid every cent he was owed and alleged Mr Sweeney “destroyed my life with your lies”. Mr Sweeney said an agent of Viper Debt Recovery and Repossession Services called to his house last month and gave him a letter, signed by Martin Foley, stating it acted for Mr Lannon and seeking payment for outstanding debts of almost €250,000 from him.
In another recent incident, Mr Sweeney said Mr Lannon called to Mr Sweeney’s home, rang the doorbell and asked to speak with him. The Garda, who had been informed of various matters, were called and spoke to Mr Lannon, he said.
On another occasion, Mr Lannon rang him saying he was at the school attended by Mr Sweeney’s children, Mr Sweeney said. His wife phoned him shortly after that to say someone called Lannon had called the school, spoken to the principal and asked that Mr Lannon’s name and phone number be passed on to Mrs Sweeney, he added.
The proper forum for the dispute is the High Court and Mr Lannon’s behaviour amounted to harassment and abuse of process, Mr Sweeney said.