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88-year-old could have assets frozen after partner she met at tea dance develops dementia

An Post has said it will hold onto more than €40,000 in an account Mary Cunningham has access to.

Image: Shutterstock/Andrii Oleksiienko

AN 88-YEAR-OLD DUBLIN woman, who was involved in a long-term relationship with a man she met at an afternoon tea dance in Jury’s Hotel, could next week face an order freezing her assets because of more than €40,000 that is missing from a post office account they shared.

Mary Cunningham, of Brookwood Rise, Artane, is embroiled in a legal dispute over the missing money with family attorneys of her dance partner John Condron,  of 7 Cormac Street, Tullamore, Co Offaly, now suffering from dementia and in care.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court had earlier this month ordered Ms Cunningham to provide the court with “full and specific details” of withdrawals she made from the joint account which once totalled €86,470.

Mark O’Riordan, counsel for Mr Condron’s attorneys, told Judge Linnane Ms Cunningham on the eve of the previous court hearing had suffered a stroke but had now been released from hospital.  Her son Ray Cunningham had sworn an affidavit which was “very light on detail.”

Mr O’Riordan, who appeared with Sandra Mahon of O’Donovan, Mahon, Cowen, solicitors, said Ms Cunningham had withdrawn more than half of the €86,470 in the account and had put just over €40,000 of the money in a joint account with her late son Francis.

Barrister Stephen Hanaphy, who appeared with Hugh O’Reilly, An Post’s solicitor, said that more than €40,000 remained in a post office account in Ms Cunningham’s name and An Post had given an undertaking to hold on to these funds until further order of the court.

Kevin Callan, counsel for Ms Cunningham, said that her son Ray had not been asked to attend court.  He had been informed by her solicitors Gaffney Halligan that she had savings of between €10,000 and €12,000.

Ray Cunningham had stated in his affidavit that his mother had spent €10,400 of the money she had withdrawn on providing downstairs wheelchair access around her home and on an upstairs bathroom which would allow a disabled person to live in her Brookwood Rise home where she currently resides.

He stated the remaining withdrawals she had made had been divided up and shared among her 16 grandchildren.

Mr Callan told the court that between eight and 10 years ago Ms Cunningham had transferred her Brookwood Rise home into the name of her son Ray.

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Mr O’Riordan said there was now a problem in a draft defence and counterclaim by Ms Cunningham “where she is attempting to maintain her position that she has some form of qualified co-habitant status” relating to 7 Cormac Street, Tullamore, Mr Condron’s address.

He said title documents to the property could not now be located and his clients, Mr Condron’s attorneys, believed would have left those title deeds there.  An advertisement had been placed in the Law Society Gazette seeking information regarding the deeds.

Judge Linnane, adjourning the proceedings for a week with leave for Mr Condron’s attorneys to give short notice of a motion seeking to freeze Ms Cunningham’s assets, said an overnight undertaking not to reduce Ms Cunningham’s assets below €50,000 could greatly reduce legal costs.

She directed that Ray Cunningham attend the court next week.

Comments have been turned off as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

Read: Garda awarded €30,000 after being hit on the head with stone ‘the size of a melon’

Also: Man and woman jailed for two years for human trafficking offences

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Ray Managh

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