Couple had to pay €310,000 for backing out of Foxrock house purchase after signing, court hears

Terry and Janet Byrne forfeited their €75,000 deposit and were later pursued for the shortfall after the subsequent sale to other buyers

Couple deposit

A couple who backed out of their intended purchase of a Dublin property after signing the contract in 2006 ended up having to pay the vendors some €310,000.

Terry and Janet Byrne forfeited their reduced deposit of €75,000 and were then pursued by the vendors for the financial difference between their offer of €2.1 million and the lesser amount the Foxrock house went on to sell for.

The legal proceedings against them were settled in a deal involving the Byrnes paying €237,865 to the vendors.

The Byrnes, of Ballinteer Road, Dundrum, claim the solicitors who acted for them in the proposed sale advised them before the signing of the contracts in October 2006 that their total exposure if the sale did not complete was the loss of their deposit.


Ms Justice Niamh Hyland outlined these details in a decision published on Monday allowing the Byrnes to continue their 2012 High Court damages action despite “very significantly” delaying in advancing the case.

The case alleges professional negligence and breach of contract against Eamonn V Carney and Jeremiah C McCarthy, practising at Carney McCarthy Solicitors at Clonskeagh Square in Dublin.

The solicitors deny all of the allegations.

In a sworn statement to the court, Mr Carney said there is evidence to prove that the claim he informed them the deposit forfeiture was the only risk is untrue.

He claims they signed an acknowledgment in September 2006 that they were signing the purchase contract at their own risk.

Mr Byrne, in a sworn statement, said he and his wife could not proceed with the purchase as they were unable to get equity release on their property.

In refusing to strike out the plaintiffs’ claim over “inordinate and inexcusable delay”, Ms Justice Hyland noted the defendants were slow to file one set of documents and requested to vacate a 2017 trial date.

She said it would be unjust to accede to the defendants’ request for the case to be dismissed before reaching a trial.

The judge said she intends to regularly check in on the progress of the case and to fix its hearing date this week.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter