Former Ireland rugby international Brendan Mullin resists bankruptcy application over alleged €1.8m debt

Mullin denies creditor’s claim he has committed an act of bankruptcy

Businessman and former Ireland rugby international Brendan Mullin is resisting an application by a creditor to have him adjudicated bankrupt over an alleged debt of some €1.8 million.

Mr Mullin earned 55 caps for Ireland between 1984 and 1995 and made appearances at three Rugby World Cups.

In light of a dispute over Mr Mullin’s claim he has not committed an act of bankruptcy because, he claims, an execution order against his goods was withdrawn, the Dublin city Sheriff may be called to give evidence in the proceedings.

Mount Street Mortgage Servicing Limited (MSMS) has brought separate petitions seeking to have Mr Mullin (60), with an address at Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, Dublin, and Stephane Fund (56), with an address in Kilternan, Co Dublin, a former business partner of Mr Mullin, adjudicated bankrupt over the alleged debt.


Both men were co-directors of Bisvale DAC, a property development fund, which went into receivership in 2021.

The proceedings were mentioned to Mr Justice Liam Kennedy on Monday and adjourned for three weeks.

The MSMS application arose after it obtained judgment from the High Court for some €2 million against both men in April 2022, arising from guarantees concerning loans made to buy properties in Ballsbridge from the National Asset Management Agency. The creditor claims some €1.85 million remains due and owing.

In its proceedings against Mr Mullin, MSMS claims he committed an act of bankruptcy arising from a return in July 2023 by the Dublin city Sheriff of an execution order issued in April 2023 against his goods.

MSMS claims that execution order was marked: “No goods – Nulla Bona” and no payment against the debt has been received since.

In court papers opposing the bankruptcy petition, Mr Mullin denies he has committed an act of bankruptcy.

Among his claims, he contends the execution order of April 2023 was withdrawn in July 2023 and the warrant was returned to solicitors for MSMS.

In those circumstances, he claims no act of bankruptcy, within the meaning of the relevant provisions of the Bankruptcy Act, happened.

Mr Mullin also claims, after receiving a final notice from the Sheriff’s office in June 2023, his solicitor had engaged with the Sheriff’s office and the Sheriff had indicated he would be given more time to address certain issues.

It is further claimed the Sheriff was informed Mr Mullin’s side would need certain information from MSMS before he could advance any serious proposal to the Sheriff to deal with the alleged debt.

Following exchanges and correspondence with the Sheriff, Mr Mullin claims the latter took no further steps concerning the execution order and had not made any meaningful efforts to establish whether there was any property of value at his residence.

This meant, he claims, that “No goods- Nulla bona” could not have been accurately marked on the execution order which, he contends, was withdrawn on July 18th 2023.

MSMS has said in court papers it is not in a position to respond to Mr Mullin’s claims concerning the processes in the Sheriff’s office.

Mr Mullin’s affidavit, it claims, deals solely with his assertion he has not committed an act of bankruptcy but does not address his indebtedness to MSMS.

A solicitor for MSMS said in an affidavit he believed Mr Mullin’s claim the execution order was withdrawn is incorrect. The solicitor said, after he had queried an “erroneous” document returned from the Sheriff’s office, he was asked by the office to return that document and had done so. He later received documents and the Sheriff’s report, dated July 21st 2023, marked as “nulla bona” and the petition relied on that.

After the positions of MSMS and Mr Mullin were outlined to Mr Justice Kennedy on Monday by Dan O’Mahony BL, for Mr Mullin, instructed by PD Gardiner & Co solicitors, and Una Nesdale BL, for MSMS, instructed by solicitors Eversheds Sutherland LLP, the judge adjourned the proceedings concerning him for further mention on February 12th. Any motion for trial of a preliminary issue and papers from Mr Mullin outlining his defences to the petition must be served by February 5th.

After Ms Nesdale said an application would be made to deem service good on Mr Fund, the proceedings concerning him were also adjourned for three weeks.

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Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times