Start Mortgages takes possession of the Donegal couple’s family home



The High Court granted a finance company a possession order on a couple’s house resulting from a loan to make a small subdivision.

Thomas and Eileen Ryan opposed the order on their home in Ballybuninabber, Termon, Co Donegal, requested by Start Mortgages DAC.

Start sought an order for the non-payment of a loan of € 410,000 that it made to the Ryan’s in 2007 so that Mr. Ryan could undertake the construction of four townhouses on land adjoining commercial premises that were to his name.

The loan, in the amount of € 410,000 repayable over 30 years, was secured on the house of the Ryan family.

The Ryan’s initially made a number of monthly repayments but then ran into financial difficulties during the recession and in June 2011 the debt stood at some € 449,000. Start demanded repayment of the full amount and when this did not happen, the company demanded possession of the family home.

When Start initiated possession proceedings with the Circuit Court in 2014, the debt amounted to some € 556,000, including arrears of € 142,000.

The Circuit Court transferred the case to the High Court where Justice Séamus Woulfe, a Supreme Court judge sitting as a High Court judge, said Start had established a right of possession.


Among the 13 reasons given by the Ryan’s was the fact that Start had obtained a judgment on their family home in October 2013 but had not activated the judgment and that Start was suing twice for the same debt. They also claimed that the mortgage contract contained unfair terms, in violation of EU regulations and that a family home should not be allowed to be used to secure a business loan.

Start disputed the Ryan’s claims.

Judge Woulfe said that while the court had great sympathy for the Ryan’s, he was convinced that they had established “no credible defense” in their case.

He placed a six-month possession order to allow them to find alternative accommodation.



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