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Friday 6 December 2019

'Bank deal to sell up meant I didn't have to pay mortgage' - Ryan

Ronan Ryan with wife Pamela Flood
Ronan Ryan with wife Pamela Flood

Restaurateur Ronan Ryan has said he did not make repayments for several years on his €1.2m mortgage debt as it was not required under an agreement he entered into to sell his Dublin home.

Speaking through his barrister, he also claimed he had not been advised about personal insolvency.

He said he did not know it was an option when he consented to a vulture fund getting possession of the property, which he shares with his wife, former Miss Ireland Pamela Flood.

In an affidavit, Mr Ryan told the High Court that under the 2012 "assisted sale" agreement with agents for Bank of Scotland (Ireland) he did not have any further monthly repayment obligations.

He said he was expressly told by the bank "we just want the asset" and that repayments were "irrelevant".

However, even though the property went on the market a number of times, proposed sales did not proceed.

Vulture fund Tanager, which later bought the loan, was granted an order for possession of the property at Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, this year and the couple were supposed to vacate it on or before July 9.

Protective

It cited the fact that Mr Ryan, who ran the popular Town Bar and Grill restaurant, had not made repayments for nine years as part of its application.

The High Court yesterday heard an appeal by Mr Ryan against a court order allowing Tanager to repossess the property, even though he had obtained a protective certificate from another court under last-minute personal insolvency proceedings.

Such certificates offer the debtor and their assets 70 days' protection from legal proceedings by creditors while they are applying for a debt-settlement or personal insolvency arrangement.

However, Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Linnane granted Tanager leave to execute the possession order after hearing Mr Ryan did not inform his personal insolvency practitioner (PIP) that the consent possession order was already in place.

Barrister Rudi Neuman, for Tanager, told Mr Justice Garr-ett Simons his client would be prejudiced if Mr Ryan was successful in his appeal.

His nine years of non-payment had brought the matter to a head, and Mr Ryan's failure to make repayments until March of this year, when possession proceedings were taking place, had a bearing on his credibility.

Barrister Keith Farry, for Mr Ryan, said he gave a sworn affidavit that he signed an assisted sale agreement which stated no payments had to be made.

He also said Mr Ryan had never heard of the personal insolvency regime when he consented to the possession order.

Mr Justice Simons will give his judgment on October 7.

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