Insolvency plan approved for widow (70) with €2.4m debts to allow her remain in Cork home

High Court also approves insolvency plans for retired handyman and solicitor

A personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) approved by the High Court on Monday allows a 70-year-old widow deal with €2.4 million of her debts.

The approval by Mr Justice Alexander Owens will also allow retired shopkeeper Marian Phillips to remain at her home at Kenley Close, Model Farm Road, Cork.

The court heard Ms Phillips got into financial difficulties due to the high interest rates on loans.

Her creditors include Start Mortgages DAC, which was owed over €2 million, Cabot Financial, the Revenue Commissioners, a property management company and a solicitors’ firm.


Under the PIA, four buy-to-let residential properties she owned – three in Cork and one in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, valued together at just over €1 million – are to be sold for the benefit of her secured creditors.

The remainder of her debts are to be written off.

She will also enter into a State-approved mortgage-to-rent/social tenancy arrangement regarding her principal private residence, a semidetached three-bedroom house worth an estimated €345,000.

The PIA, due to last 24 months, was formulated by Ms Phillip’s insolvency practitioner, Mitchell O’Brien.

Barrister Keith Farry, representing the practitioner with solicitor Barry Creed of law practice McDermott Creed & Martyn, told the court the PIA was in the best interests of all relevant parties, was a better option than having her adjudicated a bankrupt, and would facilitate Ms Phillips’s return to solvency.

Mr Justice Owens approved the proposal.

Dealing with a separate PIA, the judge dismissed a financial fund’s appeal against the approval of a plan allowing a 70-year-old man to stay in his single-bedroom Co Waterford home by making €93.70 monthly mortgage repayments until he is 97.

Ulster Bank DAC had been overruled in the Circuit Court, which approved the PIA of retired handyman Paddy O’Regan, of Minaun, Cheekpoint, Co Waterford. An appeal of this was pursued by Pepper Finance, which purchased Mr O’Regan’s Celtic Tiger-era debts, but it withdrew its objection and the appeal was dismissed on Monday.

Five years had remained on Mr O’Regan’s mortgage when he sought financial help, as he could not afford the €1,621 monthly repayments on the State pension. There was €98,000 outstanding on his mortgage, which has been restructured and extended by 30 years under the PIA devised by practitioner Mitchell O’Brien and argued in court by Mr Farry, instructed by Anthony Joyce & Co.

Separately, on the application of Mr Farry, instructed by Brady Kilroy Solicitors, the court overturned a decision of Cork Circuit Court and approved the PIA of Cork solicitor Lillian Nagle.

The arrangement involves the writing off of €1.5 million out of some €2.3 million that was owed by Ms Nagle, who will continue to live at her home in Sandy Lane, Castle Road, Blackrock in Cork.

There was a debt of €1.2 million on the home, which is valued at €550,000, owed to AIB. The arrangement, devised by KPMG, means more than €600,000 in negative equity was written off. Debts of €170,000 to Revenue were also discharged under the arrangement.

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Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter