Sunday 23 October 2016

Yates' wife pleads with court not to give AIB €1.6m order against her

Deirdre and Ivan Yates outside the High Court
Deirdre and Ivan Yates outside the High Court

The wife of former government minister Ivan Yates has asked the High Court not to give a bank a summary judgment order against her for €1.6m.

The debt arises out of a guarantee Deirdre Yates gave on loans obtained from AIB to her husband for his Celtic Bookmakers business, which went into liquidation in 2011.

Mr Yates - who is now a radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist - was later declared bankrupt in the UK having lived in Wales for 16 months to qualify under their more relaxed bankruptcy laws.

AIB said as she was a majority shareholder, director and company secretary of the bookmakers, it was entitled to recover from her €1.6m arising out of the single guarantee she signed on her husband's debt.

Ms Yates, a primary school teacher, claimed when she signed the guarantee she did not receive, and was not advised to receive, legal advice about the implications of doing so.

She particularly was not aware that the family home in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, was at risk, she said.

She wants the matter to go to a full hearing so the court can assess all the facts surrounding the matter.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he would give a decision on Friday.

Council for AIB said Ms Yates' claim did not stand scrutiny.

The terms of the arrangements could not be more clearly explained and at no stage in three separate affidavits she swore did she explain what understanding she actually had, he said.

In relation to her claim that she did not receive any legal advice, the very first paragraph of the document she signed stated legal advice should be obtained, he said.

She claimed she did not understand the nature of the documents, counsel said.


However, she was asked to sign a guarantee as a director and shareholder - which is a normal security sought by a bank providing loan facilities for a company, he said.

She also challenged the accuracy of the figures sought by AIB because, she claimed, there were different sums sought on different occasions.

She had never specifically engaged with the bank as to how it reached the figures, counsel said.

The figures were different because the bank had not sought interest on the amount owed or the costs of the receivership of Celtic Bookmakers.

Council for Ms Yates, who was in court with her husband, said there should be a full hearing of all matters.

Her only income was as a schoolteacher and the bank already had charges against other fixed assets provided under the guarantee, he said.

The issue of bank charges, which were included in the amount sought, would require to be examined as part of a full hearing into the matter, counsel said.

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