Judge rejects Ardee motor dealer’s poor literacy claim

A car dealer aged in his 70s who ran garage businesses in Ardee and Drogheda has lost a bid to prevent the fast-tracking of a bank’s application for a €16 million summary judgment against him on grounds including his limited reading and writing skills.

Patrick McCabe was “at the helm” of the McCabe garage business in Ardee and Drogheda for the last 40 years and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation did not accept that his claim of poor literacy prevented the bank’s proceedings against him and others being fast-tracked in the Commercial Court, Cian Ferriter, senior counsel, for the bank, said.

It had never previously been suggested that Mr McCabe had any impediment in his business dealings with the bank, counsel added.

An accountant for Mr McCabe had told IBRC the dealer was also involved with the National Assets Management Agency and had an “overall exposure” of about €100 million, an IBRC official said in an affidavit. IBRC was told various properties owned by Mr McCabe and his companies were not worth €10 million combined, she said.

Mr Justice Kelly said Mr McCabe had been described as “illiterate” but that did not appear to be the case as the court had been told he could read, albeit at a much slower pace than most people, and he had also signed documents during his many years in business, and an affidavit.

The judge also rejected arguments of culpable delay by IBRC in bringing the court proceedings such as to deny it the entitlement to avail of the Commercial Court’s fast-track procedures.

In the circumstances, the judge agreed to transfer to the Commercial Court list the bank’s case brought against Mr McCabe and his wife Alicia, of Blakestown, Ardee, and three companies – McCabe’s of Ardee Ltd, McCabe’s Garage (Drogheda) Ltd and McCabe’s Garage (Ardee) Ltd. The last company was placed in voluntary liquidation in October. The judge adjourned the matter to Monday of this week when the defendants must outline the nature of any defence they wish to advance.


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