“As a British citizen I have always objected to being forced into bankruptcy in a foreign jurisdiction…”
The British bankruptcy of Tom McFeely, an IRA hunger striker turned developer, has been annulled by a court in London.
Mr McFeely had failed to disclose all relevant details in his application.
He is one of Ireland’s most controversial property developers – one of his apartment blocks was so shoddily built its residents had to move out over over fears for their safety.
And the Irish Times report adds some interesting detail from the High Court in London.
In a witness statement to the High Court in London, the Derry-born builder, who built the controversial Priory Hall flats in Dublin, complained that Ms McGuinness’s application was “vindictive” and designed “to place me in greater difficulties”.
“As a British citizen I have always objected to being forced into bankruptcy in a foreign jurisdiction purely on the basis that I have a judgment liability in that state,” he said.
Mr McFeely, who served 12 years in the Maze Prison for shooting an RUC officer in Derry, spent 53 days without food in the 1980 hunger strikes, which was eventually called off by IRA leaders. In 1974 he escaped from Portlaoise Prison.
Urging the judge not to overturn the bankruptcy, he said: “I am not a citizen of the Republic of Ireland. My wife is an American citizen. I have five children, three of whom reside in Northern Ireland and two in Dublin.”
The Irish bankruptcy law, he said was “punitive by nature. Until recently, it was not possible to obtain a discharge often for life. This is the reason I fought the bankruptcy proceedings in Ireland.”
An RTÉ report of the UK bankruptcy annulment points out
Justice Proudman said the UK bankruptcy court registrar was not made aware of the possible “jurisdiction issues” and they should be argued in court.
She said while she “understood” Mr McFeely would find it attractive to be declared a bankrupt in the UK she questioned why he should be allowed to “forum shop”.
Mr McFeely faces a bankruptcy hearing in Ireland on 23 July, where the court will have to deal with the “knotty issue” of if it has jurisdiction or if it still rests with the UK courts.
A date for a UK bankruptcy re-hearing has not yet been set but would likely occur after the Irish hearing.
Topic: Economy, Politics, Society and Culture
Region: Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK
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