High Court Dublin
The High Court has extended the bankruptcy of Co Monaghan farmer John Hoey whose cattle were shot by members of the defence Forces in 2016 to a period of eight years.
The decision by Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington means that Mr Hoey from Carrickmacross will not emerge from bankruptcy until the end of February 2024.
Earlier this year the judge ruled that Mr Hoey's bankruptcy should be extended due to his lack of co-operation with the official in charge of his bankruptcy, the Official Assignee, Mr Chris Lehane.
The Judge had invited further submissions from the parties as to the length the bankruptcy should be extended for, and added that any future cooperation by Mr Hoey with the OA could determine the length of the extension.
When the matter returned before the High Court on Monday Bernard Dunleavy SC said that there had been no co-operation with the OA since the judgement was delivered, and had not availed of the second chance given to him by the court.
This was an aggravating factor and counsel said the OA was seeking an order under Section 85 of the 2015 Bankruptcy (Amendment) Act that Mr Hoey's bankruptcy be extended by 7 to 10 years.
in reply Eanna Mulloy SC instructed by solicitor John Geary, for Mr Hoey said that a document sent by his client in 2016 to the OA had been unearthed after the judgement had been given.
This document counsel said, was statement of personal information. His client had forwarded this document when he had no legal representation.
The information it contained meant that Mr Lehane was incorrect to say that no statement of affairs had been furnished, and his client deserved some credit for it, counsel argued.
In reply Mr Dunleavy said that the unearthed document did not constitute a statement of affairs, as it lacked important details including Mr Hoey's debts and other items.
In her ruling the judge said the unearthed document filed by Mr Hoey had no bearing on the findings contained in her judgement.
She also noted that there had been no co-operation by Mr Hoey with the OA since her judgement was delivered in April.
In the circumstances she was satisfied to extend Mr Hoey's bankruptcy by eight years form the time he was adjudicated a bankrupt. He will be discharged from his bankruptcy in 2024.
Mr Hoey intends to appeal the court's ruling.
Mr Hoey was declared bankrupt on foot of a petition brought by John Kelly Fuels Ltd for €262,000 in February of 2016. He was due to exit the process 12 months later.
His discharge from bankruptcy was stayed pending the outcome of the OA's extension application.
In his action Mr Lehane claimed that Mr Hoey had failed to co-operate by failing to provide a a Statement of Affairs detailing all of his assets, had moves a substantial amount of farm machinery from his farm and hid them on the grounds of a local hotel.
It was also alleged that Mr Hoey attempted to hide payments he received from a meat factory, and had hid cash on his property, which was recovered following a search of the premises.
The court also heard that In the interests of public health and safety, and to prevent the spread of TB, Mr Lehane had reluctantly used defence force marksmen to humanely destroy five of Mr Hoey's cows.
The animals had gone wild, dangerous and could not be captured, Mr Lehane said.
Mr Hoey strongly denied not co-operating with the OA, and claimed he had furnished Mr a statement of affairs.
Mr Hoey claimed that everything he had worked for was "literally wiped out and destroyed" by Mr Lehane and his agents.
Mr Hoey also rejected Mr Lehane's claims in relation to the cattle that were culled and said he remains "haunted " after witnessing his cattle being shot in July 2016.
In her judgement last April the judge said she was satisfied that Mr Hoey had not cooperated with the OA in regards the realisation of his assets.