Many Vulnerable Clients, have Suffered, at the Hands, of Barred Solicitor O’Callaghan? Where are the Fraud Squad, to do, a Investigation here?

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Cab examining accounts of solicitor barred by High Court from professional practice, court hears

Declan O’Callaghan facing legal actions from former clients, action from Law Society and solicitors’ disciplinary tribunal

Suspended Ballaghaderreen solicitor Declan O Callaghan arriving at a disciplinary tribunal in Smithfield, Dublin. File photograph: The Irish Times

Fri Oct 14 2022 – 19:00

A Mayo-based solicitor told a judge that he was unwilling to accept payment of a debt from another solicitor until he was certain that the money was not the proceeds of crime.

Evan O’Dwyer told Judge Alan Mitchell, sitting on Friday in Ballaghaderreen District Court, that he had been interviewed by detectives from the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) who were examining the accounts of Declan O’Callaghan, a solicitor from the Roscommon town barred by the High Court from professional practice because of questions over his handling of clients’ money.

Mr O’Callaghan, formerly of Ardeeven, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, is facing legal actions from former clients, as well as action against him by the Law Society and the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal, over unaccounted-for money taken from clients.

In court, Mr O’Callaghan, who was present and represented by Rob Lowe, instructed by Mr O’Callaghan’s daughter, Aoife O’Callaghan of Staunton Caufield Solicitors of Castlerea, agreed to obtain a bank draft for €70,000 to discharge a debt to Evan and John T O’Dwyer solicitors. After an adjournment, a draft was given to Evan O’Dwyer.

‘Bizarre allegations’

Mr Lowe complained about the proceedings and what he termed “bizarre allegations that have been made in respect of Mr O’Callaghan and Cab. The matter could have been dealt with in correspondence.”

Mr O’Dwyer acknowledged that payment had been offered by the debtor in August 2022. He told the court that the sum of €70,000 offered “purports” to be from the sale of Mr O’Callaghan’s former home at Ardeevan, in Ballaghaderreen.

Mr O’Dwyer said that he refused to accept the payment at the time, stating that he would only accept payment if there was “independent proof” of the source of the money.

The judge noted that whether the money was the proceeds of crime “might or might not be relevant”, but only to An Garda Síochána and not Mr O’Dwyer.

On the tendering of the €70,000 by means of a bank draft, the judge struck out an application for an instalment order made against Mr O’Callaghan, previously sought by Mr O’Dwyer.

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