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Court writes down Laois woman’s mortgage by almost €175,000

The High Court has granted a Co Laois woman a debt write-down of almost €175,000 on her Bank of Ireland mortgage after her husband’s business collapsed and he was declared bankrupt.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald approved a personal insolvency arrangement for Rebecca Forde Egan, who has total debts of €639,000, that will see the mortgage on her four-bedroom home in Ballymorris, Portarlington – a property valued at €410,000 – written down to €451,000.

It is proposed that €40,651 would be paid to the bank during the six-year arrangement, leaving the bank facing a €133,000 write-off over the course of the financial rescue plan.

Ms Forde Egan, a mother of three daughters, told the court her husband Larry Egan filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after the failure of his business where she was employed.

She said her husband was out of regular employment for several years and she was unable to return to her job in the public service after taking a six-year career break to work for her husband.

She now works for the HSE in Dublin, while her husband works as a regional sales manager.

The judge rejected Bank of Ireland’s objection to the arrangement that it would be unfairly prejudiced by not being permitted to realise Mr Egan’s 50 per cent share in the family home.

Market value

Mr Justice McDonald pointed out that the bank would be paid €451,000 on its mortgage – a significant increase on the market value of the home – and that it would receive the dividend of €40,651 over the six-year arrangement, amounting to a return of 72 cent for every euro owed.

In contrast, it is estimated that the bank would receive €369,000 in the event of Ms Forde Egan being declared bankrupt, amounting to a lower return of 60 cent for every euro owed. “It is therefore impossible to see how the bank will be unfairly prejudiced,” the judge said.

Ms Forde Egan, who was represented by Keith Farry BL and personal insolvency practitioners McCambridge Duffy, disputed the bank’s claim that it had originally loaned money to the couple to buy a property in France.

She claimed the bank’s “own lending officer put forward the ‘story’ about the French property to ease the application process.”

The money was used solely for the purpose of renovating and improving the family home in Co Laois.

Mortgage write-downs through court-approved personal insolvency arrangements were introduced in legislation in 2012 to deal with the large amount of unpaid mortgage debt across the country in the wake of the property crash and economic crisis.

The legislation was changed in 2015 to create a court appeals mechanism to overrule the “bank veto” blocking the write-down of debt in the arrangement.

Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank appealed a Circuit Court ruling of December 2018 approving Ms Forde Egan’s arrangement.

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Report Will Likely Accuse President Of Seeking Foreign Election Help, Nadler Writes Trump

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) sent a rattling letter to Donald Trump on Friday informing him of the likely conclusions of the impeachment inquiry by the Intelligence Committee, including obstruction of justice and soliciting foreign interference in an American election.

He also gave Trump a deadline of next Friday to inform the committee if he plans to present a defense in the next round of impeachment hearings.

An upcoming report on the hearings from the Intelligence Committee will detail an “effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest,” Nadler wrote in the letter. The “again” likely refers to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and may be an indication that the investigation will try to link that to Trump or his campaign.

The report will also allege an “unprecedented campaign of obstruction in an effort to prevent the committees from obtaining evidence and testimony,” Nadler informed Trump.

Nadler noted that his own committee has “also been engaged in an investigation concerning allegation that you may have engaged in acts of obstruction of justice, as detailed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s” report.

Nadler asked Trump in the letter if his counsel “intends to participate in the upcoming impeachment proceedings.”

The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin its first public hearings in the impeachment investigation on Wednesday. Nadler set a 5 p.m. deadline on Dec. 6 for the president to say if he or his counsel will participate.

The White House could not immediately be reached for comment.

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