Father and daughter have arguable defence, judge says

Summary judgment sought over alleged failure to satisfy repayment demand

A father and daughter have made out an arguable defence to a financial fund’s demand for a €1.5 million summary judgment against them, the High Court has decided.

Mr Justice Tony O’ Connor’s ruling means the judgment application by Promontoria Aran Ltd against Patrick O’Reilly and his daughter Breda O’Reilly, based in the United States, should go to a full hearing.

The fund brought proceedings over a loan it acquired from Ulster Bank which was used to buy an apartment located at Herbert Park, Dublin. The apartment was put up as security for the loan.

Arising out of an alleged failure to satisfy a repayment demand, Promontoria sought summary judgement against the defendants, who are registered owners of the apartment and a car parking space.


Promontoria also sought orders and declarations, including that the apartment be sold in default of payment of the alleged debt.

The application was opposed.

Ms O’Reilly, who left Ireland permanently in 1994 told the court she never applied for a mortgage in Ireland, never banked with Ulster Bank, and has no obligation to the lender or its successor in title.

She said she did not know she was a registered owner of the apartment till 2017 when the proceedings commenced.

Mr O’Reilly, who did not deny ownership of the property, claimed he has repaid all the debt due to Ulster Bank.

He also claimed the fund’s application was statute-barred.

Promontoria argued Mr O’Reilly had not exhibited documentation to support his sworn statement the bank had been repaid in full.

In his ruling, the judge refused summary judgment.

He was not satisfied that Mr O’Reilly and his daughter did not have arguable defences to Promontoria’s claim, he said.

In his decision, he stressed he was doing no more than accept that both defendants had alleged facts which could undermine what the fund may have thought to have been a simple matter when the case was commenced almost three years ago.

The fund has shown a certain resolve to avoid a plenary hearing but “there comes a stage when the summary process ought to be recognised as not appropriate in view of the established law”, he said.