In Short


Court set to hear record 100 casesA record number of almost 100 cases will come before the Commercial Court next Monday, the largest in the court’s six-year history and involving 30 new cases with claims involving more than €300 million, writes Mary Carolan.

Among the new cases is an action by Anglo Irish Bank against businessman Hugh O’Regan and another action against former Fianna Fáil councillor Gerard Killally, who has had multimillion euro judgments entered against him and was adjudged a bankrupt in July.

Settlement reached over jailing for debt

A settlement was reached yesterday of outstanding damages and costs issues arising from a successful challenge by an unemployed mother of two to the constitutionality of laws allowing people to be jailed for failure to pay debts.

Caroline McCann (36), Mullaghmatt, Monaghan, won a High Court test case last July against a one-month jail sentence imposed on her after she failed to pay arrears on a credit union loan.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy ruled a court order of November 2005 sending her to prison unconstitutional.

Ms McCann had received the one-month jail sentence over failure to pay instalments of €82 per week to meet a judgment of €18,000 secured by Monaghan credit union in 2003.

Ikea trade name action adjourned

The High Court has adjourned an application by Swedish firm Ikea for an injunction restraining a kitchen installer from using its name.

John Haugh, Donnycarney Road, Dublin, is alleged to have infringed the company’s trademark by calling his business “Ikea Kitchen Fitters”. He has registered the name with the Companies Registration Office.

Mr Haugh was in court yesterday when his lawyer asked that the matter be adjourned as time was needed to prepare an affidavit outlining his client’s defence.

Court told of phone texts prior to crash

A mobile phone found on the driver’s side of a car involved in a collision which claimed the lives of two emergency workers contained a number of text messages and calls made minutes before the incident, a court has heard.

The evidence was given in the trial of Niall Shannon (21), Lenamore, Ballylongford, Co Kerry, who denies dangerous driving causing the deaths of Garda Brian Kelleher and fireman Michael Liston at Barrigone, Askeaton, Co Limerick, on February 25th, 2007. The trial is to continue next week.

Judgment reserved in Mass card case

The High Court has reserved judgment on a challenge to the constitutionality of a provision of the Charities Acts which outlaws the sale of Mass cards except through an arrangement with the Catholic Church.

Thomas McNally, head of Mass card producers MCC, New Street, Co Longford, and his sister, Marie Reilly, a card retailer of Ard Na Rí, Ardnacassa, Co Longford, have taken the action against the State over the measures, which became law in early September.

The plaintiffs claim the Act is unconstitutional in that it unlawfully confers a monopoly on the sale of Mass cards to clerics of the Catholic Church or to persons approved by them.