Tough Times, for Ben Gilroy, and his Wife? Courts Reject their Appeal?

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Supreme Court declines to hear political candidate’s appeal over family home possession order

9th July 2022

THE SUPREME COURT has declined to hear an appeal by political candidate and anti-eviction activist Ben Gilroy and his wife Sarah Jane Gilroy against a decision to grant a mortgage company a possession order for their home.

In a written determination a panel of three Supreme Court judges held that no point of general public importance that the court needed to consider had been raised by the Gilroys.

The Gilroys opposed a lower court’s decision to grant Start Mortgages DAC a possession order in respect of the couple’s principal private dwelling in Navan, Co Meath.

Start claimed that the couple fell into arrears in relation to a mortgage advanced by it to them in 2007 and had not made any repayments for many years.

As a result, Start sought a possession order in respect of the property from the Circuit Court.

  • The couple claimed that the registration of a mortgage against the property and that Start’s application for a possession order should not be granted but rather remitted to a full plenary hearing due to an alleged fraud committed against them.
  • They alleged that a fraud took place between the lender and a solicitor who had previously acted for them, who they claimed had colluded with Start.
  • It was further alleged that changes had wrongfully been made to the documentation regarding the mortgage that was initially lodged with the Land Registry shortly after the mortgage was granted to the Gilroys.

The Circuit Court rejected the couple’s arguments and found that their allegations of malpractice and fraud were not accurate, farfetched and that there was no evidence to support their claims.

The Circuit Court’s decision was affirmed by the High Court last year after that court also found that there was no proof of the alleged fraud.

The Gilroys sought to have their appeal against the lower court’s findings heard by the Supreme Court on grounds including that the failure to allow their claim to go to a plenary hearing unjustly tipped the balance of justice in favour of the banking institutions.

They also claimed that the lower courts had erred in their findings.

Start Mortgages opposed the application and argued that no point of general public importance had been raised in the action.

The panel comprised Justice Peter Charleton, Justice Seamus Woulfe and Justice Brian Murray dismissed the application.

The court noted that as part of their application the Gilroys were seeking a priority hearing and to have certain aspects of their case referred to the Courts of Justice of the European Union.

The determination said that the due process rights of the Gilroys had been fully vindicated in the hearings before the lower courts.

All the proper legal tests had been applied and it was not open to the Supreme Court to revisit the findings of the Circuit Court and High Court in this matter, the determination added.

 

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