Insolvency arrangement approved for man with €60 million in debts

Under agreement, Patrick Whelan of Ennis to pay €50,000 to creditors in 12 weeks

 The court heard that while Nama had some initial objections to the PIA, it was now consenting to its approval. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

The court heard that while Nama had some initial objections to the PIA, it was now consenting to its approval. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

 

The High Court has approved a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) allowing a man to write down almost all of his €60 million debts.

On Monday, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey approved a PIA in respect of Enda Patrick Whelan of College Grove, Ennis, Co Clare.

Mr Whelan’s creditors include National Asset Loan Management (NALM), a Nama company, which was owed some €56.4 million arising out of personal guarantees he had given in respect of four companies owned by his family.

The businesses were all part of the Whelan Group of companies, which were involved in the construction industry and got into difficulties following the economic crash.

He gave the guarantees when the companies sought to enter examinership. That process was ultimately unsuccessful.

The companies had taken out loans with the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank.

Mr Whelan also owed €1.46 million to Bank of Scotland and €1.44 million to Cabot Asset Purchases Ireland. Both had secured mortgage judgements for those respective amounts against his family home.

He also had a further unsecured debt of €905,000 to Everyday Finance Ltd.

Under the PIA, Mr Whelan will pay about €50,000 to his creditors in the next 12 weeks.

Supervisory period

Mr Whelan, represented by Keith Farry BL, instructed by solicitor Alan McGee, told the court, while Nama had some initial objections to the PIA, it was now consenting to its approval after certain alterations had been agreed.

One condition was there would be an effective 12 months supervisory period in relation to the PIA.

Counsel said Mr Whelan’s Personal Insolvency Practitioner, Jim Stafford, was satisfied the PIA should be approved. Mr Whelan’s creditors would do better under it than in a bankruptcy situation, counsel said.

Counsel said, under the PIA, the creditors will receive a very small amount in respect of what is owed by Mr Whelan. The amounts will range from 1.3 cents in the Euro to just 0.01 cent in the Euro. If Mr Whelan was to be adjudicated bankrupt then the creditors would get nil, counsel said.

Counsel said Mr Whelan and his family will retain their principal private residence, a three-bedroom house that his client co-owns with his wife.

Mr Whelan will also continue to make mortgage repayments on his home. The judgment obtained against Mr Whelan will be deregistered on successful completion of the PIA, counsel said.

Eithne Corry BL, for Nama, said her client was after initially voicing its reservations about the PIA, was consenting to its approval.

In the circumstances,Mr Justice Sanfey said he was satisfied the PIA should be approved.