Former Miss Ireland and TV Star Pamela Flood and husband Ronan Ryan can walk away without paying a penny of the €1.2 million debt they owe against the plush North Dublin home they have lived in rent free for the past nine years.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane was also told in the Circuit Civil Court Friday that they will not even have to pay the huge legal costs bill two banks have run up in trying to re-possess their family home at 136 Mount Prospect Avenue, in leafy Clontarf, Dublin 3.
The couple’s barrister Eoin O’Shea, who appeared with David M. Turner Solicitors, told the court that restaurateur Ryan and his wife, Pamela, had given the American-owned Tanager bank an undertaking they and their children will have vacated the property by July 9 next.
In return the bank would undertake to limit the couple’s indebtedness to whatever it could recover from the sale of the property — no legal costs, no repayment of €374,000 arrears they had built up since 2010 and no liability for the €1.25 million outstanding on the mortgage.
Rudi Neuman, counsel for Tanager Dac, told Judge Linnane that Ms Flood and Mr Ryan, who had taken out a €1.1 million mortgage with Bank of Scotland just before Christmas 2006, had consented to the court granting Tanager an order for possession against them.
Mr Neuman, who appeared with Amoss Solicitors, told the court the bank had agreed to a stay on the execution of the order for four months on condition the couple delivered up vacant possession of the house, worth up to €800,000, along with “all keys, fobs, electronic access devices and alarm codes” and an undertaking to co-operate with an auctioneer to show off the property.
He said the bank sought an order restraining the couple from damaging the house or removing any fixtures and fittings and subject to their full compliance with the terms of the settlement document their indebtedness would be limited to the sum recovered from the sale. The bank was also not seeking any order for costs against the couple.
Mr O’Shea told Judge Linnane the terms of the settlement agreement had been explained carefully to his clients who had put forward the vacant possession proposal that had been accepted by the bank.
Judge Linnane, who heard that any other suggested arrangement would now be wholly unsustainable, said it was a pity such a settlement agreement could not have been reached much earlier in the proceedings and the judge made court orders in the terms of the proposed settlement.
The couple now have up to four months to find alternative accommodation for themselves and their four children.
The court heard earlier that Ryan (48) had not paid anything off his €1.1 million mortgage since August 2010. His 47-year-old wife had not been named on the 2006 mortgage documents with Bank of Scotland but had been joined as a Notice Party to the proceedings following her marriage to Ryan in 2014.
Tanager, described as an American-owned vulture fund, has a registered office at Clanwilliam Square, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin. It snapped up more than 2,000 distressed Irish home loans almost 10 years ago at heavily discounted rates from Bank of Scotland. More than 90 per cent of those loans were two years or more in arrears.
Ryan used to own three restaurants which were hit by the financial recession of 2008. Flood, a former host of Off the Rails television series and several RTE shows, was to have presented a TV3 documentary series about older mothers but this was shelved after Virgin Media took over the station. The former model and now mother of four won the Miss Ireland pageant 26 years ago.
She has stated in the past that despite her own career difficulties and those of her husband their marriage was rock solid.
Under the agreement the couple, after a period of two weeks following today’s court case, will facilitate house sales representatives access to their home for the purpose of photographing and assessing the property for inclusion in sales brochures.