Property owner jailed for 10 days for refusing to comply with court order

By Ann O'Loughlin

A property owner has been jailed for ten days for contempt of court after he refused to comply with orders not to interfere with or trespass at premises in receivership.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello found Liam Mulvaney was in contempt of court orders preventing him from trespassing at or interfering with the receivership of 17 properties he owns containing some 39 units located in the Dublin area. Mr Mulvaney has addresses in Palmerstown and Inchicore, Dublin.

The prison term was handed down after Mr Mulvaney, who disputes the validity of the receiver's appointment, refused to comply with an injunction granted against him by Mr Justice Michael Twomey last December.

Liam Mulvaney with addresses at Avaondale Lodge, Lucan, Dublin and Sarfield Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8 leaving court today. Picture: CourtPix.

The injunction was sought by receiver Tom O'Brien who claimed Mr Mulvaney had been interfering with and obstructed Mr O'Brien from carrying out his duties as receiver over the properties.

Today at the High Court Kelly Smith Bl for the receiver said there had been several instances of further interference by Mr Mulvaney since December.

Counsel said Mr Mulvaney had instructed tenants not to deal with the receiver or his agents. He had also moved into one the of the properties subject to the receivership at Avondale Lodge, Old Lucn Road, Palmerstown, Dublin.

The receiver had also been unable to gain access to some the units.

There also had been interference with efforts to sell some of the properties including that 'For sale' signs placed at one of the properties had been removed.

Following the order Mr Mulvaney had also registered a lis pendens in relation to the properties.

In December the court had also ordered him to hand over the rents to the receiver. However he had only handed over rents from four of the properties, counsel said.

Counsel said Mr Mulvaney had last week given an undertaking to another judge to comply with the orders, but had failed to do so.

In the circumstances the receiver had no option other than seek Mr Mulvaney's attachment and committal to prison for contempt.

Representing himself Mr Mulvaney said that property at Avondale Lodge was his family home, which he shared with his family and children "for several years."

The Inchicore premises was a business address, where he occasionally stayed at.

He said he had run a construction business that employed 50 people and he had never been involved in any criminal activity. He said that he spent the last number of days in "hiding" and had his phone turned off.

Mr Mulvaney said he had health problems and wanted to appeal the injunction made against him in December, and also asked Ms Justice Costello for a stay on Mr Justice Twomey's order.

In reply Ms Smith said all the properties in receivership were investment properties and the claim concerning the property at Avondale Lodge had never been made when the matter was previously before the courts.

Ms Justice Costello said from presiding over the bankruptcy list she understood the pain and distress many Irish people like Mr Mulvaney have endured.

However she could not go behind an order made by the High Court, and she had a duty to uphold such orders. She said if Mr Mulvaney was prepared to give an undertaking to comply with the orders the judge said she was prepared to allow him time to leave Avondale Lodge.

Any application for a stay would have to be made to either the Court of Appeal or Judge Twomey.

Mr Mulvaney refused to give such an undertaking. The Judge then made an order, which was to be forwarded to the Gardai directing that Mr Mulvaney be arrested and kept in prison ten days.

She told Mr Mulvaney the situation was "of his own making" but "he held the key" and he could purge his contempt at any time.

Previously the heard Mr O'Brien was appointed as receiver over the properties by Ulster Bank Ireland Designated Activity Company.

Ulster Bank claims it is owed €7.5m by Mr Mulvaney arising out of his failure to satisfy its demands to repay loans advanced to him between 2004 and 2010.

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