Tenant ‘an innocent victim’ of court dispute over Dublin property

Judge orders woman to vacate house in proceedings between owner and receiver

Visibly upset, the woman said she did not understand what was happening and had been paying rent to Mr Ward. Photograph: iStock

Visibly upset, the woman said she did not understand what was happening and had been paying rent to Mr Ward. Photograph: iStock

 

A mother of three young children who is an “innocent victim” of a dispute over possession of a Dublin property must leave the house in February, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said Amy O’Reilly is not entitled to be in the house at Cedar Brook Avenue, Cherry Orchard, Dublin, but he would stay his order requiring her to leave until February to allow her find alternative accommodation.

The house is subject of proceedings between its owner, Gerry Ward, Mount Eagle Green, Leopardstown Heights, Dublin 18, and Simon Coyle, previously appointed receiver over the property by Bank of Ireland.

Mr Ward opposes the validity of the receiver’s appointment.

Mr Coyle last year got court orders preventing Mr Ward dealing with, occupying, trespassing or interfering with the property or the receivership. After Mr Coyle was unable to gain possession of the property, he brought further proceedings alleging contempt of the court orders against Mr Ward, and against Ms O’Reilly as occupier of the property.

Ms O’Reilly appeared before the High Court on Thursday following an arrangement with gardaí. Visibly upset, she said she did not understand what was happening and had been paying rent to Mr Ward.

The judge accepted Ms O’Reilly was an innocent party in the dispute. He said he was making an order requiring her to vacate the property as she was not entitled to be there but would adjourn it to February so she could take steps to secure alternative accommodation.

If she left the house before mid-February, she would not have to return before the court, and if anyone approached her in regard to her occupation before then, she was to contact gardaí, he said.

Humanitarian approach

Mr Coyle, represented by Declan Wade BL, was appointed receiver over the property, which was purchased by Mr Ward on foot of a mortgage from ICS Building Society in 2007.

Mr Wade said the receiver wished to take “a humanitarian and practical” attitude towards Ms O’Reilly but Mr Ward was in a different position.

Mr Ward was not in court for the proceedings. At one point it was brought to the judge’s attention that a woman whom the judge said had previously accompanied Mr Ward to court had been recording the proceedings. The judge said that was not allowed.

The woman said she was Louise Ward, wife of Gerry Ward, but she was not the woman who previously accompanied Mr Ward to court.

When asked if she had recorded proceedings, the woman said she did not know if she had and had not done it on purpose. Her husband was not in court because he was “very ill”, she said.

Mr Justice Gilligan said he did not accept a doctor’s certificate previously presented to the court on Mr Ward’s behalf, which stated he had a medical condition that meant he could not attend court. In order for the court to accept the medical certificate, its author would have to come before the court, the judge said.

He told Ms Ward he did not “approve of her attitude to the court”, adding contempt of court proceedings are “a most serious matter”. He directed the recordings be deleted in the presence of a court official and adjourned the contempt proceedings against Mr Ward to February.