Court extends period of bankruptcy of farmer whose cattle were shot to 2024

Money found hidden behind radiator when house searched was not listed in statement of personal information, court told

John Hoey at Annacroft  outside Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. File photograph: Pat Byrne

John Hoey at Annacroft outside Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. File photograph: Pat Byrne

 

The High Court has extended the period of bankruptcy of a Co Monaghan farmer, who was adjudicated a bankrupt in February 2016, to February of 2024.

After a short hearing on Monday afternoon, Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington said she was “very far from satisfied” that there had been full co-operation from John Hoey, of Annacroft, near Carrickmacross.

Mr Hoey, who was present in court, became bankrupt in 2016 after a petition from John Kelly Fuels, Promenade Road, Dublin, for a debt of more than €260,000.

The Criminal Assets Bureau had also been pursuing Mr Hoey for a tax debt of more than €3 million.

He came to national attention in July 2016 when five of his cattle were shot by soldiers because there were difficulties rounding them up with the rest of the herd, which were taken away to be slaughtered against a backdrop of concerns about the spread of TB.

Ms Justice Pilkington ruled in March that Mr Hoey’s bankruptcy should be extended but put back to Monday her decision as to the length of the extension.

Bernard Dunleavy SC, for the Official Assignee, Chris Lehane, said there was only one asset of substance that his client wanted to sell, the property at Annacroft, but Mr Hoey had not been co-operative.

The bankrupt had “completely turned his face from” the “last chance” that the court had given him.

He also said a document with the title statement of personal information which Mr Hoey had provided early in his period of bankruptcy, was not a statement of affairs, as was required under the bankruptcy regime, and did not list the bankrupt’s liabilities.

A submission that had been made by Mr Hoey since the judge’s ruling in March, should be considered as an “aggregating factor”, counsel said.

Eanna Mulloy SC, instructed by solicitor John Geary, for Mr Hoey, said his client had been expecting that he would be given “some credit” for the statement of personal information, and that Mr Lehane might “express regret” for the approach he had taken towards Mr Hoey in the proceedings that led to the March judgment.

Asked by the judge about Mr Hoey’s non-response to a letter from Mr Lehane seeking co-operation in relation to the sale of Annacroft, Mr Mulloy said he had nothing further to say to the court in relation to that.

Mr Dunleavy said that money that had been found hidden behind a radiator when Mr Hoey’s house was searched, had not been listed in the statement of personal information.

Ms Justice Pilkington said the statement was not a statement of affairs. She also noted an “unusual” document before the court stating that the Annacroft property, and certain herds and machinery, were being held in trust by a trustee.

Mr Hoey intends to appeal the decision in relation to length of his bankruptcy extension, a representative said after the hearing.