McFeely bankruptcy application expedited


PROPERTY DEVELOPER Tom McFeely, whose first application for bankruptcy was overturned by the High Court in London earlier this month, is to have the hearing of his second application accelerated, it has emerged.

Overturning his bankruptcy on June 15th on the application of one of those who bought a house from him, Theresa McGuinness, Mrs Justice Sonia Proudman repeatedly said she would not agree that a new application should be rushed before bankruptcy registrars.

However, documents sent to Ms McGuinness on Friday by the court registrar said the petition for Mr McFeely is to be “restored to the registrar to be heard as a matter of urgency” on the judge’s direction.

The former IRA hunger striker, who served 12 years in the Maze Prison for shooting an RUC officer, objected to Ms McGuinness’s challenge to his bankruptcy declaration, saying he was a British subject who should not suffer Ireland’s “punitive” bankruptcy laws.

A bankruptcy declaration in Britain for Mr McFeely would mean a bid by Ms McGuinness to have him made bankrupt in Ireland – where he could be barred from serving as a company director for up to 12 years – would fail.

His bankruptcy declaration was overturned by Mrs Justice Proudman after it became clear that Mr McFeely’s witness statement, in which he declared he was not involved in other legal proceedings, was shown to be wrong.

Last night, Mr Gerry Hughes, a friend of Ms McGuinness who has been helping her during her legal action in which she represented herself, expressed surprise that a second bankrupcy hearing is to take place so quickly.

During the June 15th hearing, Mrs Justice Proudman indicated it could take months for a hearing to be listed with a bankruptcy registrar if she did not expedite it, which she was not then minded to do.

Ms McGuinness, who lives in Rush, Co Dublin, is to write today to the judge’s clerk querying the decision.

“If the hearing is expedited and if he is declared bankrupt there then it will take the proceedings out of the Irish courts,” Mr Hughes told The Irish Times.

Ms McGuinness, who was awarded more than €100,000 in damages to repair a house badly built by Mr McFeely – still not paid due to a challenge to the Supreme Court – will appear before the July 4th registrar’s hearing.

In a witness statement opposing the application to overturn his bankruptcy, Mr McFeely said he had fought against Ms McGuinness’s bid to have him made bankrupt in Ireland, alleging that she has been “vindictive” towards him.