Former property developer has €19m debt written off by High Court in return for payment of just over €9,000

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5 April 2022

A former property developer has had more than €19m in debt written off by the High Court under a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA).

The debt deal secured by Cavan businessman Eamon Murray (59) is the largest approved by the court so far this year.

Mr Murray’s financial difficulties arose from the demise of his property and construction development firm Greenspan Estates Ltd.

The company dissolved in 2011 and its assets were sold off by various creditors.

But Mr Murray, of Killycarney, Blacklion, Co Cavan, still faced considerable debts as a result of personal guarantees he gave for company loans.

The arrangement was approved by Mr Justice Mark Sanfey after being presented to the court by Keith Farry BL, counsel for Mr Murray’s personal insolvency practitioner Nicholas O’Dwyer of Grant Thornton.

In an affidavit, Mr Murray said he hoped the PIA would bring an end to “stress and turmoil” which had “lingered over me for the past 15 years since the economic recession of 2008”.

He said he had engaged Mr O’Dwyer for advice when he was faced with repossession proceedings from Start Mortgages after losing “everything but the family home”.

In an affidavit, his practitioner Mr O’Dwyer said the arrangement would give creditors a better return than if Mr Murray were to be made bankrupt while also allowing him to retain ownership of his home with a sustainable mortgage.

Mr Farry told the court that debts totalling €19,029,363 will be written off in return for a contribution of just €9,329 to creditors.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Mr Murray will have his mortgage restructured and can hold onto his €220,000 home.

His BMW X5 has also been excluded from the deal as it was deemed required for work and personal use.

Mr Murray is now working as a building foreman.

His largest creditor was  Bank of Ireland, which he owed €15.9m.

Other creditors included Pepper Finance Corporation, which was owed €944,000, Allied Irish Bank, owed €878,000 and the Revenue Commissioners, which he owed €453,000.

The PIA was largely opposed by creditors at a meeting in December last year and went to the High Court by way of an appeal under personal insolvency legislation.

According to legal filings, more than €319,000 was owed on Mr Murray’s home.

Under the arrangement, the debt will be reduced to €245,000, with interest-only payments for a year before reverting to full repayments over a 15-year period.

A receiver is also set to be appointed to land in Tullyhaw, Blacklion, worth €50,000, with the proceeds set to go to Bank of Ireland.

Third-party funds totalling €10,000 will be used to clear a preferential debt owed to the Revenue.

In his affidavit, Mr Murray said his difficulties were the result of the failure of Greenspan Estates, which he owned with a business partner, Martin Clancy.

He had personally guaranteed several loans.

Sums owed on a number of loans were reduced by the sale of the company’s sites, buildings and machinery, while forestry lands were also sold by a receiver.

He said all of his savings were taken and offset against his loan balances.

However, he remained heavily indebted and in danger of losing his home.

Mr Murray said that he had continued to make efforts to engage with his creditors since the very beginning of the insolvency process and had paid varying sums towards his mortgage.

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