O’Donnell home rental hearing deferred

Bank of Ireland receiver says its claim for €180,000 in lost rent put off until after appeal

A claim by a bank-appointed receiver for more than €180,000 damages for lost rental income from the luxury south Dublin family home of solicitor Brian O’Donnell, has been “parked” pending a Supreme Court appeal against an order giving the bank possession of the property.

The appeal by the four adult children of Brian and Mary Patricia O'Donnell, against the High Court's rejection of their claim that Bank of Ireland was not entitled to the property, is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court in January.

In those circumstances, Rossa Fanning, for Tom Kavanagh, the receiver appointed by Bank of Ireland to the property, told the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, yesterday that a hearing to assess damages for lost rental income would not proceed on November 5th, as had been scheduled, but would be deferred until after the appeal.

The deferral was on the basis of the four children – Alexandra, Blaise, Blake and Bruce O’Donnell – providing a continuing undertaking for damages should they lose the appeal, Mr Fanning said.

The receiver is claiming damages based on lost rental income of some €12,500 a month for the property at Gorse Hill, Vico Road, Killiney, since June 2012, the date the bank asserts it was entitled to possession and the children were in unlawful occupation of the property.

The bank sought possession as part of its efforts to enforce a €71 million judgment obtained against Brian O’Donnell and his wife in December 2011.

On July 31st last, the High Court upheld the bank’s claim it was entitled to possession on foot of securities provided over loans made to the O’Donnell parents.

The Gorse Hill property, a house and 3½ acres, is now said to be worth between €6 and €7 million although it was valued at €30 million in 2006.

The High Court dispute centred on whether Gorse Hill was an asset of a trust legally and beneficially owned by the children. Mr Justice Brian McGovern found Gorse Hill was not held by the trust and there was therefore no proprietary claim open to the children as beneficiaries of the trust.

Separately, the O’Donnell parents are appealing to the Supreme Court against a High Court decision adjudicating them bankrupt.

Ross Maguire SC, for the couple, said yesterday they were seeking an urgent hearing of that appeal.

The Chief Justice said the court would endeavour to give the hearing a date in November but it could be January.

In granting Bank of Ireland’s application to have the couple declared bankrupt, Mr Justice Peter Charleton rejected their claims their main centre of business interests was England and not Ireland.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times