HEALTH Minister James Reilly faces the prospect of having his prized assets seized by the sheriff unless he repays his share of a €1.9m debt.
The Herald has learned that an execution order was lodged with the High Court last week as part of the settlement against the Health Minister and his four business partners.
The order means that the sheriff offices in Co Offaly and Co Dublin -- where Dr Reilly owns properties -- could be directed to seize some of his assets in order to resolve the debt.
Sources with direct knowledge of the process told the Herald that Dr Reilly's creditors could decide to target his assets in the coming months -- a move that would prove incredibly humiliating to the embattled Health Minister.
A well-placed source explained: "It is up to the plaintiffs now to apply to execute the order and direct the sheriff in this regard. It is likely in the case of Minister Reilly that his Offaly residence would be examined, which would involve his assets. But his address in Dublin could not be ruled out. This is normal procedure."
In 2000, Mr Reilly, along with former Fine Gael councillor Anne Devitt and 11 others joined together to build the Greenhills nursing home in Carrick-on-Suir.
Dr Reilly tied himself into a deal where he and four others were all jointly and severally liable for a €1.9m debt.
This means he could have to dispose of some assets in order to repay the debt.
It also means that each of the recourse investors could be pursued for the full amount of the debt.
Mr Reilly and his wife Dorothy are co-owners of Loughton House, a 13-bed stately mansion, on the outskirts of Moneygall in Co Offaly, underwent a major restoration and is of historical significance.
The property lists an impressive billiards room, dining room, sitting room, drawing room and a grand library with built-in mahogany bookcases.
Loughton House is listed in the name of Dr Reilly's wife, Dorothy, but the minister declared the 150 acres of farming and woodland at the house in the TDs' Register of Interests.
Dr Reilly also has a number of classic cars that he will be keen to keep out of the reach of the sheriff.
A dilapidated gate lodge stands at the entrance to the property which also includes a three-bedroomed farm manager's house, servant quarters, a bell tower and farm buildings.
Beneath ground level, an expansive basement contains the former kitchen, servants' hall, ironing room, wine cellars and pump room.
And outside, within the sprawling lands, Dr Reilly's home also includes an extensive stable yard which contains seven stables should he consider housing horses.
The interior of the house is spectacular and is decked out with splendid decor.
The couple also has a second family home and commercial complex in Lusk, Co Dublin.
A spokesperson for the Offaly registrar confirmed that once an order an execution order is lodged in the high court, the next step is the sheriff's office being notified.
"That is the procedure in place. This office would decide how to act once we are contacted over the matter."
The Department could not provide a comment when contacted by the Herald.