No defence raised to AIB's bid for summary judgment for sums of over €2.2m, court rules

The High Court has ruled that a company and businessman have failed to raise a defence to applications by AIB for summary judgment against them for sums of over €2.2m.

Mr Justice Michael Twomey found that Hirar Properties Limited and Mr John Philip Ryan, otherwise known as JP Ryan, had "no fair and reasonable probability of having a real or bona fide defence" to a bid by Allied Irish Bank Plc for summary judgment.

AIB sought a judgment of €2.8m against the company, arising out of its alleged failure to repay loans advanced by the bank, as well as summary judgement in the sum of €2.25m against Mr Ryan in respect of a guarantee of that loan.

The loan was in connection to a property known as the Globe, Cecil Street, Limerick. The Globe was owned by Hirar, which was acquired by Mr Ryan in 2008.

The court heard Mr Ryan bought the property after he was approached by the bank, which it was claimed had concerns that previous owners of Hirar were allegedly unable to serve the loans on the property.

The application for summary judgement was opposed, and the defendants argued that the case should go to a full plenary hearing of the court.

It was argued that summary judgment should not be granted on grounds including that AIB had breached a collateral agreement to support Hirar's bid to have the Globe developed into a hostel by means of an investment under the Business Expansion Scheme (BES).

It was claimed the agreement was breached when AIB failed to allow the creation of leases over the Globe which would have facilitated the BES investment.

This it was claimed led to the BES being abandoned and deprived Hirar of funds, resulting in the company suffering financial losses.

The company had expected to make a profit on the project in light of its previous experience using BES investments to develop hostels.

AIB rejected that argument and said no bona fide defence to its claim had been raised.

In his decision, Mr Justice Twomey said: "no cogent evidence" of the alleged collateral agreement between the parties was before the court.

All that was before the court the judge said was an assertion of "a vague agreement regarding flexibility in the funding," and an assertion that an AIB official had said that whatever approvals Mr Ryan needed would be forthcoming.

In the circumstances, the judge said there "is nothing of a documentary nature to indicate that something in the nature of collateral agreement exists between AIB and the defendants."

The Judge after giving his decision, and noting that there are other separate sets of proceedings involving the parties, adjourned the issue of final orders to a later date.

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