Property owner jailed for 10 days for refusing to comply with court orders

Liam Mulvaney had been ordered not to interfere with receivership of 17 Dublin properties

Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

A property owner has been jailed for 10 days for contempt of court after refusing to comply with orders not to interfere with a receiver’s management of his properties.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello found Liam Mulvaney, with addresses at Sarsfield Road, Inchicore and Old Lucan Road, Palmerstown, Dublin, in contempt of orders preventing him interfering with the receivership of 17 properties owed by him in the Dublin area. The properties contain 39 units.

Mr Mulvaney, who disputes the validity of the receiver’s appointment, refused to comply with injunctions granted against him by Mr Justice Michael Twomey last December.

Those injunctions were sought by receiver Tom O’Brien who claimed Mr Mulvaney had been obstructing him in his efforts to carry out his duties as receiver.

On Friday, Kelly Smith, for the receiver, said there had been several instances of further interference by Mr Mulvaney since December.

Counsel said Mr Mulvaney had instructed tenants not to deal with the receiver or his agents and had moved into one of the properties subject to receivership – Avondale Lodge, Old Lucan Road, Palmerstown.

The receiver had also been unable to gain access to some of the units, she said. There also had been interference with efforts to sell some of the properties including removal of “For sale” signs placed at one of the properties.

Mr Mulvaney had also registered a legal claim, in relation to the properties, she said.

Rents

While the court had ordered Mr Mulvaney last December to hand over the rents to the receiver, he had only handed over rents from four of the properties, she added.

Mr Mulvaney had last week given an undertaking to another judge to comply with the orders but had failed to do so and the receiver, in the circumstances, had no option but to bring the contempt proceeedings.

Representing himself, Mr Mulvaney said the property at Avondale Lodge was his family home, which he shared with his family and children “for several years”, and the Inchicore premises was a business address where he occasionally stayed.

He said he had run a construction business that employed 50 people, had never been involved in any criminal activity, had spent the last number of days in “hiding”, and had his phone turned off.

He said he had health problems and wanted to appeal the injunctions granted in December and to have a stay on those.

In reply, Ms Smith said all the properties in receivership were investment properties and the family home claim over Avondale Lodge had never been made when the matter was previously before the court.

Ms Justice Costello said, from presiding over the bankruptcy list, she understood the pain and distress many Irish people like Mr Mulvaney have endured but she had a duty to uphold court orders. If he was prepared to undertake to comply with the orders, she was prepared to allow him time to leave Avondale Lodge, she said. However, any application for a stay on the earlier orders would have to be made to either the Court of Appeal or Mr Justice Twomey.

After Mr Mulvaney refused to give such undertakings, the judge ordered that he should be arrested and jailed for 10 days. She told Mr Mulvaney the situation was “of his own making” but “he held the key” and could purge his contempt at any time.

The court previously heard Mr O’Brien was appointed receiver over the properties by Ulster Bank Ireland Designated Activity Company. Ulster Bank claims it is owed €7.5 million by Mr Mulvaney over failure to satisfy its demands to repay loans advanced to him between 2004 and 2010.