Social welfare recipient owes 15m

A PROPERTY DEVELOPER who is now surviving on social welfare with debts of €15m hanging over him appeared in Castlecomer Circuit Court on Monday as another creditor sought to register a judgement against him.

A PROPERTY DEVELOPER who is now surviving on social welfare with debts of €15m hanging over him appeared in Castlecomer Circuit Court on Monday as another creditor sought to register a judgement against him.

Martin Dunne and his wife Geraldine with an address at Kilcollan, Jenkinstown, Kilkenny, had built up a huge number of properties during the Celtic Tiger era. Mr Dunne transformed himself from a small time contractor, building extensions on to houses, into a multi-million euro property developer. According to Mr Dunne’s solicitor, Michael Condon, all was going well until 2006 but since then Mr Dunne has been overwhelmed by the collapse of his business and has “gone ostrich” and simply stopped opening his post.

Mr Dunne was in court as Kilcarrig Quarries sought to recover debts of €9870.51 from him. Mr Dunne told the court that he and his wife owned eight or nine houses, but that all of the houses had been used to secure loans from the banks. Judge Hartnett asked Mr Dunne were all of his properties in negative equity, to which Mr Dunne replied “They are.” Mr Dunne owes money to Anglo Irish Bank, Bank of Scotland as well as ACC Bank. According to his solicitor he has been making some headway with ACC Bank.

In a statement of means to the court produced with the help of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service Mr Dunne told the court that his family, including his wife and four children were surviving on a monthly income of €2485. This income came from Mr Dunne’s job seekers allowance, his wife’s income from working in a creche and the children’s allowance for his four children.

Solicitor for the plaintiff, Michael Lanigan, said Mr Dunne was asking the court to ignore any creditor owed under a seven figure sum. Mr Lanigan asked Mr Dunne if he had left anything out of the statement of means. He asked him “Do you have shares, bonds, foreign bank accounts?” Mr Dunne said no. Mr Dunne’s solicitor, Mr Condon, asked would it be correct in saying your in total confusion about the state of your business? Mr Dunne replied “Yeah, how could I not be when you’ve had two receivers appointed and they’re taking properties off of you.”

Mr Lanigan successfully pointed out a difference in the statement of means provided at a previous sitting of the court and the statement of means produced with the help of MABS. The difference in means was of €400 which Mr Condon said was due to the Children’s allowance payments.

On the basis of this the judge ordered him to pay €50 a month until the debt was repaid.