Former rugby international’s home can be sold, judge rules
Bankruptcy trustee gets legal go-ahead to dispose of Peter Clohessy’s family property
Mr Clohessy, nicknamed the Claw, was adjudicated bankrupt at the High Court in 2017. He has since been discharged from bankruptcy. Photograph: Dave Meehan
The family home of former rugby international Peter Clohessy can be sold by a bankruptcy trustee as a result of High Court orders.
In a ruling on Thursday, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys put a six-month postponement on an order requiring Mr Clohessy, his wife and their three children to vacate the property.
Mr Clohessy, nicknamed the Claw, was adjudicated bankrupt at the High Court in 2017. He has since been discharged from bankruptcy.
He had been involved in several bar and restaurant businesses which got into difficulties. A statement of affairs filed on his behalf as part of his bankruptcy proceedings showed, in late 2016, he had debts of over €13 million, mainly to financial lenders.
The Official Assignee (OA), in proceedings against Mr Clohessy and his wife, Anna Gibson Steel, sought an order sanctioning the sale of the family home at Cappamore, Co Limerick.
The official assignee also sought an order requiring the family to give up vacant possession of the property.
The court heard, arising out of the bankruptcy, the OA had Mr Clohessy’s half-share in the property vested in him. The OA wrote to the couple offering to sell that half-share back to them, with the proceeds going to the creditors. Those letters were returned to the OA, as “not called for”. The court heard the mortgage due on the property in 2019 was €236,000.
The OA, represented by Una Nesdale, valued the property at €500,000-€550,000, but the couple had valued it at significantly less. The couple opposed the application.
Expense of creditors
Mr Justice Humphreys said he was satisfied to grant the orders in respect of the property. While it was unfortunate the family would lose their home from where Ms Gibson-Steel conducts her business, these were not compelling reasons to refuse the order where the property offers the only prospect for creditors to be paid, he said. He said the family had been living at the expenses of creditors for four years since the adjudication.
The postponement period of six months offered by the OA was reasonable but a two-year period proposed by the couple would imposed unwarranted delay on creditors, who have waited long enough already, he said.
The judge noted the house adjoined Mr Clohessy’s 48-acre farm. Arising out of his financial difficulties, that farm was repossessed by AIB, which sold it to a financial fund which intends to put it on the market.