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High Court approves €4.4m debt write-off for ex-Fianna Fáil councillor

Former Waterford councillor Thomas ‘Eddie’ Mulligan will will contribute a sum of just over €9,000 to his creditors and in fees.

THE HIGH COURT has approved a Personal Insolvency Arrangement allowing a former Fianna Fáil councillor and general election candidate to write off over €4.4 million in debt.

The PIA was approved in respect of Thomas ‘Eddie’ Mulligan, who will contribute a sum of just over €9,000 to his creditors, which are mostly financial funds, and in fees to fund the arrangement.

Mulligan was an elected member of Waterford City and County Council from 2014 until his resignation as a councillor in August 2022. The 55-year-old ran for Fianna Fáil in the 2020 general election but failed to secure a seat.

At the High Court today, Justice Alexander Owens heard that Mulligan’s financial difficulties had arisen out of the economic recession in 2008.

As well as being a local politician, the court heard that Mulligan had served with the Irish Naval Service for many years and had worked in his family’s painting and decorating business.

He had borrowed money and had given personal guarantees in respect of loans that were used to invest in various property assets.

Following the crash, those assets lost value and their rental income decreased.

Those properties, which included retail and commercial units, are to be sold to help pay off what is owed on them, the court heard.

Mulligan’s main creditors include Pepper Finance, Everyday Finance DAC, Bank of Ireland, and a local Credit Union.

Arising out of his difficulties and inability to pay his debts as they fell due, Mulligan entered the insolvency process and engaged the services of Personal Insolvency Practioner (PIP) Mitchell O’Brien.

Keith Farry Bl for the PIP said that under the 13-month arrangement, Mulligan will retain the family home, a four bedroomed house at Knockboy, Dunmore Road, Waterford worth €425,000, which he shares with his wife and their dependent child.

Counsel said Mr Mulligan will continue to make payments on his mortgage, which is to be restructured so that the total debt due on his family home has been reduced from over €600,000 to approximately €425,000.

Counsel said it is the case that Mulligan’s creditors would do better under the PIA compared to if the former councillor was adjudicated as being bankrupt.

Following the completion of the 13-month long PIA, counsel said that Mulligan will return to solvency.

There was no opposition to Farry’s application to have the PIA formally approved by the court.

After considering the matter, Justice Owens said that he was satisfied from the evidence put before the court to approve Mulligan’s PIA.

Aodhan O Faolain