IBRC seeks €25.5m judgment on loans


IRISH BANK Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is seeking summary judgment for some €25.5 million against a businessman over loans to redevelop a building in Ballsbridge, Dublin as a boutique hotel/ guesthouse and to refinance other loans.

Patrick Halpin, Aberdeen Lodge, Park Avenue, Sandymount, is contesting the bank’s claim in proceedings entered into the Commercial Court list yesterday by Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

The bank claims a company of which Mr Halpin and his partner Ann Keane are directors, Crossplan Investments Ltd (in receivership), was loaned about €23 million by Irish Nationwide Building Society (now part of IBRC) on dates from 2005 onwards to renovate Merrion Hall, Merrion Road, in Ballsbridge.

It is claimed the loans were personally guaranteed by Mr Halpin who, with Ms Keane, is also a director of another company, Elektron Ltd, which owns another guesthouse/hotel, the Aberdeen Lodge, on Park Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin.

When the loans were not repaid, IBRC appointed Paul McCann of Grant Thornton as receiver to both Crossplan and Elektron last February.

IBRC case manager Mary Kelly said in an affidavit the receiver took possession of Merrion Hall but Mr Halpin refused to deliver up Aberdeen Lodge, saying it was the family home. That premises was estimated by the receiver to be worth around €1 million.

On March 5th last, Mr Halpin applied to the District Court and obtained summonses against Ms Kelly, and a since retired IBRC colleague, Declan Buckley.

He alleged they falsely represented to his accountant on the day the receiver was appointed to both companies that the bank was prepared to continue a process of engagement whereby Elektron/ Aberdeen Lodge would be able to continue to trade normally.

The bank has brought judicial review proceedings seeking to quash those summonses on grounds they were for the purpose of airing wholly unfounded criminal conduct against the two officials, Ms Kelly said.

The District Court matter is on hold pending determination of the the High Court judicial review proceedings, Mr Justice Kelly was told yesterday, when entering the case into the Commercial Court list.

The judge also admitted proceedings by the receiver, Mr McCann, against Mr Halpin and Ms Keane in which the receiver contends the couple are not entitled to withhold possession of Aberdeen Lodge.

Mr McCann said in an affidavit that Mr Halpin had confirmed to the bank at various times Aberdeen Lodge was not a family home.

He and Ms Keane were also not covered by the Family Home Protection Act 1976 because they were not married, Mr McCann said.

Mr Halpin had provided a declaration to the bank that no officer of his company ever resided in Aberdeen Lodge other than himself (Halpin) and Geraldine Halpin, “Mr Halpin’s estranged spouse”, Mr McCann said.

Mr Justice Kelly rejected an application by counsel for Mr Halpin and Ms Keane not to admit the matter to the Commercial Court.