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Court hopes to rule on Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe's insolvency arrangements in 5 to 6 weeks

Financial fund Tanager DAC, which is owed €2.26m by the couple, is opposed to the couple being allowed to enter PIAs

McNamara (59) worked as musical director on the Late Late Show for 20 years while Lowe (56), was a TV presenter before qualifying as a barrister.
McNamara (59) worked as musical director on the Late Late Show for 20 years while Lowe (56), was a TV presenter before qualifying as a barrister.
Image: James Horan/Photocall Ireland

THE HIGH COURT hopes to make a final ruling on an application to approve personal insolvency arrangements (PIA) allowing musician Frank McNamara and his wife, barrister Theresa Lowe deal with debts of €3.7m, in the next five to six weeks.  

Last year Justice Denis McDonald said that he was minded to approving the PIA but wanted certain matters concerning McNamara’s inheritance from his parent’s estate clarified. 

The judge said, when handing down the decision last August he was not prepared to allow matters to proceed any further until the affidavit addressing these issues is presented to the court.

Financial fund Tanager DAC, which is owed €2.26m by the couple, is opposed to the couple being allowed to enter PIAs.

The fund’s debt is secured against the couple’s family home in Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, which is valued at €550,000.

The matter was mentioned before the courts on several subsequent occasions. When the case returned before the court on Friday, Tanager, represented by Rudi Neuman Shanahan Bl voiced another concern about the proposed PIA.

Tanager wondered if there was a potential tax liability of €4,000 due and owing, and not included in the PIA, by McNamara over a sum of money which had been gifted to him by a third party.

Counsel said the possible tax liability arose from €28,000 had been gifted to Lowe and then the money had been moved from her account to McNamara’s who then counsel distributed funds to their four children.

Counsel described this as being like the famous quote from the Fr Ted Tv series that “the money was just resting in my account”. 

Keith Farry Bl for the couple that all issues raised by the court had been fully dealt with, everything had been done properly and submitted that approval for his client’s PIAs should be finalised.

Even if there was a tax liability due, counsel said this was not something that should prevent the court from approving the PIAs.

Counsel, paraphrasing the Mrs Doyle character from Fr Ted said, by raising a potential tax issue the fund was going “on and on and on” in another attempt to prevent the PIA’s from being approved.

Justice McDonald said he needed time to consider and reflect on the matter.

He said he would deliver a decision in the next five to six on whether to approve the PIA, which will see the couple write off approximately €2.9m of their debts, and allow them to keep their home.

As well as Tanager, the couple also owes money to parties including Bank of Ireland, Banco de Sabadell SA, and Revenue.   

McNamara (59) worked as musical director on the Late Late Show for 20 years while Lowe (56), was a TV presenter before qualifying as a barrister.

Under the proposed arrangement which will see the couple return to solvency, the couple will continue to make payments on their mortgage to Tanager from a total income of €5,600 per month. 

A lump-sum payment of €100,000 would also be made along with a promise of €30,000 from a life insurance policy in seven years.  

The money will come from a €181,000 inheritance from McNamara’s parents’ estate and also from the sale of five acres next to their home.

The Judge noted in his judgement that the creditors will do better under the PIA than compared to if the couple were bankrupted. 

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Aodhan O Faolain

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