A Galway property developer who has unsuccessfully tried to sell properties for more than two years so as to meet loan repayments is in the same situation as many people coming daily before the Commercial Court, a judge remarked yesterday (Wednesday )
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said his experience of managing the Commercial Court - where people are sued daily over non-repayment of substantial loans mainly advanced to buy properties - is that trying to sell property now is a "very difficult exercise" with no indication of any improvement in the market in at least the next two years.
Every day he was seeing, because of the property market collapse, people who were "very exposed" with "unsaleable properties" and no means of servicing loans, he added.
In those circumstances, there was no point in deferring the making of a judgment order in the hope things might improve, the judge said.
He made the comments when granting judgment for some €937,443 to ACC Bank against Ron Quinn, a property developer of Kinlough House, Gentian Hill, Salthill, Galway, arising from his failure to repay loans advanced from 2003 onwards.
The judge said he had sympathy for Mr Quinn, particularly as, unlike others, he had accepted he owed the money and had not sought to advance "spurious defences to "put off the evil day".
He also sympathised because Mr Quinn, on advice from ACC, had borrowed €100,000 from the bank to invest in a Solid World bond which was anticipated to yield a return of €140,000.
The bond had not performed, Mr Quinn had received only the €100,000 capital sum invested which he had had to pay to ACC, and he had also paid interest of €20,000 and commission of €4,000 to the bank.
While he had no option but to enter judgment for the sum sought, Mr Justice Kelly said he would place a stay of three months on that order to see if further talks between the sides could achieve anything. He was not optimistic in that regard.
ACC would be entitled to register mortgages over properties of Mr Quinn in the interim but the three month stay would mean Mr Quinn would not have to worry about the sheriff arriving at his door for that period, the judge added. He refused ACC's applications for the costs of the hearing and directed each side to pay its own costs.
Earlier, Mr Quinn, representing himself, accepted he owed the money but argued ACC had refused to make accommodations with him as to how the loans would be repaid. He had tried to sell some properties for about two years now to meet loan repayments but had been unsuccessful and also had difficulties getting tenants for properties.
He had reached accommodations with other banks despite owing them "three times as much", he added. Those banks had all tried to help him "out of this mess" but ACC had "turned its back on me".
Bernard Dunleavy, for ACC, said there had been delay by Mr Quinn in addressing the loans issues. The Bank's position was he must clear arrears of interest on the loans before it would consider other proposals but he "can't or won't", counsel said.
Mr Quinn said he did not have the €30,000 sum to clear those arrears.