A High Court judge has refused to grant a farmer an injunction against a so-called vulture fund over the sale of 9ac of his land in Cork.

The farmer, Maurice Foley, sought an interlocutory order preventing Promontoria (Oyster) Designated Activity Company (PODAC) from selling the 9ac at Ballynoran, Charleville, Co Cork. Foley sought the relief on the basis that there was no evidence Promontoria was entitled to exercise the rights of the charge and on the basis that the receiver purportedly appointed by Promontoria is not validly appointed.

Ulster Bank had advanced €70,000 to Halcon Communications Ltd, the security for which was, first, a joint letter of guarantee for the sum of €135,000 signed by Áine Ó Tuama, Brian Moloney and Foley, together with a first legal charge over the property.

In her judgment, Justice Siobhán Stack said that it is not in dispute that the monies advanced by Ulster Bank had not been repaid.

Foley became the registered owner of the land on 11 November 2009. Ulster Bank was initially registered as the owner however, documents show that Promontoria became the owner of the land on 9 March 2017.

No legal basis

The judge said that there was “no legal basis” to the argument around the ownership of the land.

“The material fact is that [Promontoria] is the registered owner of the charge on foot of which a power of sale is said to arise and on foot of which the receiver has been appointed. The registration of PODAC as the owner of the charge is proof that the charge has been transferred to it.

“There is, therefore, no legal basis to this argument and there is no fair question to be tried on this issue,” Justice Stack said.

Foley’s second objection, to the appointment of a receiver, was also thrown out by the judge. She said that the appointment was valid after consulting evidence. The land is listed for sale at an online auction next month, with an advised minimum value of €90,000.