Bank not entitled to possession of Sligo property owned by deceased woman, court hears

Bank Not Entitled To Possession Of Sligo Property Owned By Deceased Woman, Court Hears
The property in question is located at Mount Edwards Heights, Ballinfull, Co Sligo. Photo: PA Images
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High Court reporters

Bank of Ireland Mortage Bank is not entitled to possession of the home of a deceased Co Sligo woman because it waited too long to bring an action in respect of the property, the High Court has heard.

The property in question is located at Mount Edwards Heights, Ballinfull, Co Sligo and for many years was the home of Bridget Cunningham, who died in July 2008.


In 2006/2007, when she was 86, the deceased borrowed €60,000, via a 'Life Loan' mortgage from the bank to carry out improvements on the property, which consists of a rural detached cottage and six acres of farmland.

The bank, which claims that it is owed approximately €150,000 including interest in respect of the loan from the estate, commenced proceedings against Mrs Cunningham's estate seeking possession of the property, in 2019.

The property has been valued at €180,000, the court heard.

In proceedings before Mr Justice David Nolan at the High Court on Friday, the late Mrs Cunningham's daughter, Teresa Gillespie, acting in her capacity as executrix of the estate, claims the bank's action should be dismissed as it is statue barred, and out of time under the 1961 Civil Liability Act.


Represented by Martin Hayden SC, she claims the bank should have brought its claim for possession within two years of Mr Cunnigham's death.

BOI claims that Mrs Gillespie has no defence to the claim.


The court heard that under the terms of the 'Life loan', no repayments were expected during Mrs Cunningham's lifetime, and it only became due and payable on her death.


No repayments have been made on the loan, which was secured by way of a charge over the deceased's property.

In 2015, the bank represented by Brian McGuckian Bl, formally called on the estate to make a full repayment on the loan.

Mrs Gillespie extracted a grant of probate over the estate in April 2021.

A solicitor, nominated by the bank had been previously been granted limited probate over the estate in 2019. The solicitor was subsequently replaced as executrix by Mrs Gillespie.


Mrs Gillespie claims the bank's application for possession has been made outside of the legal time limits allowed and is statute barred.

It is also claimed that the bank is not entitled to seek the level of interest being charged on the loan.

She said that she had been contacted by the bank on several occasions after her mother's death.

In an affidavit to the court, Mrs Gillespie said that in 2019, a bank representative suggested to her that she should "as a gesture of good faith with the bank, make a payment on account against her mother's loan debt". She did not take the bank up on that suggestion.

She also claims that the property has been vacant since her mother's death, and rejects claims made by the bank that she has been living there.

Following the conclusion of submissions from the parties, Mr Justice Nolan said he was reserving his decision and will deliver judgement at a later date.

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