Progress made in Seán Dunne family dispute over Co Kildare properties, court hears

Five of Dunne’s children, from two marriages, obtained a temporary High Court injunction against businessman

Some agreement has been reached in a dispute involving businessman and developer Seán Dunne and members of his family regarding two valuable properties located in Co Kildare, the High Court has heard.

Last year John Dunne, the businessman’s son from his first marriage, along with Mr Dunne’s four minor sons, who sued through their mother, Mr Dunne’s second and former wife Gayle Killilea, obtained a temporary High Court injunction in respect of properties located at 9A and 19 Churchfields, Straffan, Co Kildare near the K Club resort.

Amrakbo Unlimited Company, a firm of which Ms Killilea is a director, claims to have spent €577,000 on a house being built at one of the properties and is also an applicant in the proceedings.

The injunction restrains Traviata Ltd, Seán Dunne and Bessilton Holdings Ltd from selling or disposing of the legal and beneficial interests in the properties, one of which was alleged to have been sold for €1 million.


The applicants claim the properties were assigned to or put in trust for Mr Dunne’s children, but the applicants alleged that he was attempting to sell the properties for his own benefit.

Mr Dunne, who was adjudicated bankrupt in 2013, and the defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

Traviata is an Isle of Man-registered company, fully owned by an entity called the SD Trust.

Represented by Aillil O’Reilly SC, Traviata argued that the proceedings should not be heard before the Irish courts, and should be resolved in the Isle of Man.

Bessilton is the alleged registered and legal owner of the two properties but is not the beneficial owner.

It says the dispute is between the other parties and has undertaken to comply with all orders made by the court.

The dispute has been adjourned from time to time, with the freezing orders remaining in place, while related proceedings between the parties were being considered by a court in the Isle of Man.

On Thursday when the case was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Brian O’Moore, Ross Gorman BL, instructed by solicitor Graham Kenny, for the applicants, said progress and agreement had been reached in the related Isle of Man proceedings, although some issues remain outstanding.

Counsel said new trustees will be appointed to Traviata but there were issues regarding the legal costs of the proceedings in both jurisdictions that have yet to be agreed.

Arising out of the agreement, counsel said his side required certain court orders, including one allowing a variation on the freezing order previously granted against the defendants.

Mr Dunne, who now resides in the UK and who has claimed the injunction was a fraud, told the court he was anxious that a matter that has gone on for over 18 months must be resolved as soon as possible.

Throughout the proceedings, Mr Dunne has maintained that the assets at the centre of the dispute were not his and belonged to the trust.

Noting Mr Dunne’s desire that orders be made on Thursday, Mr Justice O’Moore said he was not prepared to make any order until he has been provided with all relevant documents in the case.

He adjourned the matter to a date later this month.