Estate agent will not ‘actively market’ sale of Castletown Cox

Beneficaries of trust in dispute over sale of Kilkenny estate set on 513 acres

An estate agent will hold off on the "active marketing" of a mansion in Co Kilkenny pending further hearings in a legal dispute over the sale of the property, the High Court has been told.

Edward Magan, a beneficiary of the Eaglehill family trust which owns Castletown Cox, is objecting to the sale of the south Kilkenny estate on 513 acres by the current trustee of the estate, DW Trustees. Mr Magan failed last week via a court hearing in Jersey to stop the marketing of the property for sale.

After the Jersey court ordered DW Trustees could proceed with facilitating marketing of, and access to Castletown, the estate agent Knight Frank was instructed to proceed with the sale.

The beneficiaries of Eaglehill Trust, which is governed by Bermuda law, are Edward and Henrietta Magan, children of Lord George Magan, a retired banker who purchased the estate in 1999.

Details of the dispute emerged in the High Court in Dublin last week when lawyers for Eaglehill sought injunctions during a Wednesday evening sitting to stop the Irish Times publishing an article about the sale of Castletown Cox.

‘Inter-family dispute’

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan remarked during that hearing the row centred on "an inter-family dispute in relation to a trust fund where the property asset of the fund is the most valuable asset". It was clear DW Trustees took a different view to the beneficiary the property could be sold, he said.

The judge refused to restrain the Irish Times publishing the article but gave leave to lawyers for Mr Magan to serve short notice of proceedings for an injunction preventing the trustees taking steps to promote or market the sale of Castletown Cox and its demesne.

A statement issued by solicitors for Mr Magan after that hearing said related proceedings were being taken by Mr Magan and his father in Bermuda.

When the matter returned before Mr Justice Gilligan on Tuesday, Rossa Fanning SC, for DW Trustees, said he intended to bring a motion challenging the Irish court's jurisdiction in this matter.

Niall Fitzgibbon SC, for Mr Magan, said they wanted the jurisdiction matter and injunction proceedings against DW Trustees aimed at restraining the sale of the property heard as soon as possible.

Legal documents

Having heard the sides, the judge made directions for exchange of legal documents and returned the jurisdictional motion and injunction matter to next week.

The judge, who earlier remarked that he expected Knight Frank would “hold off” selling the property and the “status quo” would continue while the legal proceedings were pending, was told by Mr Fanning that he was instructed to give an undertaking that Knight Frank would not engage in active marketing of the property pending the injunction matter returning before the court.

The Eaglehill Trust assets are valued at between €45 million and €50 million, with Castletown Cox representing the significant property portion of those assets. Lawyers for Edward Magan argued last week publicity in relation to the sale of Castletown could lead to a “fire sale” of the trust assets.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times