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Sisters fight over father's house as value nosedives

A house which a court heard was worth €850,000 five years ago, and which led to a serious family split between sisters, may go on the market soon for €350,000, its current valuation.

Barrister Cathal Murphy told the Circuit Civil Court that Noel Goulding, who died in August 2006, had willed his home at 29 St Columba's Road Upper, Drumcondra, Dublin, to his four daughters, Martina O'Reilly, Brid Slator, Mary French and Frances O'Connor.

Mr Murphy, who appeared for Martina O'Reilly, with an address at The Drive, Cypress Downs, Templeogue, Dublin, and Brid, with an address at Columba's Road Lower, Drumcondra, said they had been appointed to handle the sale and division of proceeds equally among the four sisters.

Declan Wade, counsel for the third sister, Mary French, said she and her husband William, still lived at the old family home on St Columba's Road Upper, and the fourth sister, Frances O'Connor, lived in Florida in the United States.





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He said Frances, who was not a party to yesterday's court case, had in 2005 swapped her quarter share of the family home with, Mary and William French, for two small land sites the couple owned in Florida. Judge Joseph Mathews heard that unhappy differences had arisen between Martina and Brid and their sister, Mary, who had been living rent-free in the house.

Mr Wade said that in 2009, before property prices had dipped to their current low, Mr and Mrs French had offered to buy the house from their father's estate for €445,000 and to settle the issue of outstanding rent.

They claimed their offer had not only been refused but had been met with a Civil Bill seeking possession of the property and two years' rent of €2,000 a month totalling €48,000. Mr Murphy told the court it was the duty of his clients, Martina O'Reilly and Brid Slator, as executrices of the will, to settle up their father's estate through sale of the house and recovery of rent.





Valuation

They sought a court order for possession against their sister and judgment for outstanding rent. Judge Mathews said 2006 property prices represented almost a different age, considering what had happened since then regarding the loss and fall in property values.

He had heard valuation experts on behalf of both parties value outstanding rental at between €1,700 a month and €1,200 a month and said the court determined outstanding monthly rent to be €1,400 totalling €33,600.

Judge Mathews said the family disagreement was unfortunate and granted possession of the house with a stay until June 30 to allow the Frenches an opportunity to raise finance and make a new offer for the property.

He also directed that the €33,600 for outstanding rent be deducted from Mary French's now half-share of the proceeds of sale.

hnews@herald.ie