Sean Dunne’s bankruptcy trustee lifts legal claim over Shrewsbury Road mansion

Decision made under settlements of proceedings arising from Irish bankruptcy

Seán Dunne's Irish bankruptcy trustee has agreed to lift a legal claim registered over a valuable Dublin 4 property which was sold for €14.2 million more than three years ago, the High Court has heard.

The agreement by Official Assignee Chris Lehane to lift the lis pendens registered by him over 'Walford' on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road, and to consent to a declaration that a trust set up for the benefit of the children of financier Dermot Desmond has acquired good title to Walford, was made under settlements of proceedings arising from Dunne's Irish bankruptcy and issues over the ownership of Walford.

Mr Dunne had paid a record €58 million for Walford in 2005 at the height of the boom under a trust set up for his second wife Gayle. The couple are now estranged.

In late 2016, a Cyprus registered company, Yesreb Ltd, of which John Dunne, a son of Seán Dunne's first marriage, was said to be a director, sold Walford for €14.25 million to Celtic Trustees Ltd.


Celtic is the sole trustee of the Merdon Trust, whose settlor is billionaire financier Dermot Desmond, and which was set up for the benefit of Mr Desmond’s children.

Last week, the High Court was told three separate sets of proceedings, all with some link to Seán Dunne’s bankruptcy and/or Walford, had settled but Mr Justice Denis McDonald was asked to adjourn making orders to allow various complex steps be taken in a number of jurisdictions.

When the cases returned before him on Wednesday, he was told by Bernard Dunleavy SC, with Edward Farrelly SC, for the Official Assignee, the steps had been taken and orders were being sought, on consent, in the three sets of proceedings.

The judge agreed to make those orders, including an order striking out proceedings by the Official Assignee against Yesreb, with Celtic as a notice party, and vacating all previous orders.

Lis pendens

He also vacated a lis pendens registered by the Official Assignee over Walford in December 2016.

Rossa Fanning SC, for Celtic, said orders could also be made on consent striking out his client's separate case against the Official Assignee and making a declaration Celtic has acquired good title to Walford.

In its case, Celtic had claimed it had good title to Walford.

Mr Fanning said the third set of proceedings, taken by Mr Desmond and various members of his family against the Official Assignee and the Insolvency Service of Ireland over the alleged leaking of confidential material to a newspaper concerning an agreement to buy Walford, could also be struck out with no order and vacating all previous orders.

Mr Justice McDonald made all the orders sought.

The settlements came after the judge was told last Friday that Seán Dunne had separately initiated injunction proceedings in New York aimed at restraining John Dunne using funds held by Yesreb to settle the Irish High Court proceedings.

Mr Lehane had sued Yesreb here in a bid to recover the proceeds of the sale of Walford for the benefit of the estate of Seán Dunne whose Irish bankruptcy has been extended for 12 years over failure to co-operate with the official assignee.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times