McFeely loses High Court battle over home

Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 00:00

Bankrupt property developer Tom McFeely has lost his latest court battle over the repossession of his family home on Ailesbury Road in Dublin.

The High Court yesterday dismissed the appeal by Mr McFeely and his wife Nina brought against a Nama company’s legal proceedings which led to the possession of the house on August 11th last.

The National Asset Loan Management Ltd (Nalm) obtained the repossession order arising from Mr McFeely defaulting on a €9.5 million mortgage taken out in 2005.

Mr McFeely’s company Coalport developed the Priory Hall complex in Donaghmede, which was closed last year by order of the High Court due to fire safety concerns.

Mr Justice John Hedigan said yesterday there was no basis for the McFeelys’ appeal against a Circuit Court ruling which ultimately led to the repossession. The case appeared to be “open and shut”.

He was satisfied the judgment obtained over a €9.5 million mortgage had been well-charged over the property and there was nothing wrong with the Circuit Court order.

The judge said he was conscious this was a family home and said it was “a sad and terrible thing” when someone was put out of their home. That was unfortunately part of the situation that had befallen the country, he said.

“I appreciate the circumstances here are tragic and terrible but there isn’t anything I can do.”

He dismissed the appeal.

Mr McFeely, who was in court, had previously complained that his family were “living on the side of the street” as a result of alleged “lies” having been told at a repossession hearing.

James Salafia SC said his clients were unhappy they had been put out of their house after a court had been told by Nalm there was alternative accommodation available to them. A conscientious investigation would have shown no alternative to putting people out on the street, he said.

Mr McFeely had also “complained bitterly” about the publicity given to the repossession but Mr Salafia said that was all now “water under the bridge”.

Mr McFeely was challenging the order on the basis he may not have been the proper person to have been before the repossession court as he was at the time a declared bankrupt, Mr Salafia added.

It was also their case that because the original mortgage was taken out to pay off existing loans, the house was not liable as security.

Michael McDowell SC, for Nalm, said there was no basis for reversing the Circuit Court order. The orders obtained would not have been affected by Mr McFeely’s bankruptcy because the security provided for the mortgage was not affected by that, Mr McDowell added.

Mr McFeely’s wife Nina had also brought proceedings in her own right against the repossession and these matters had been fully heard and ruled on, he said.