Tag Archives: Edmund Honohan

Village Magazine tweetz:

“Here is the illustration by Faye Larkin for Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan’s interesting analysis of Apple’s tax arrangements with Ireland. Read the piece on our website.”

Rotten fruit: has anybody actually read the EU Commission’s Apple decision? (Edmund Honohan, Village Magazine)

Previously: Edmund Honohan on Broadsheet

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness speaking in the Dáil yesterday

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil, during a debate about housing…

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness said if a vote of no confidence in the Government was put forward, he would support it.

It follows Fianna Fáil members abstaining from voting in a motion of no confidence in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy on Tuesday night.

He also referred to his party’s confidence and supply arrangement with Fine Gael “a farce”.

Mr McGuinness also spoke about Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan who, earlier this year, had debt cases removed from him under a direction by the President of the High Court Peter Kelly.

The Fianna Fáil recalled how he introduced an Affordable Housing and Fair Mortgage Bill in the Dáil, assisted by Mr Honohan, “which went nowhere”.

Mr McGuinness said:

“I have said many times in this House that the first obligation on any Government is to keep its people safe, and this Government has failed miserably to achieve that across many sectors.

“If I wanted to sum up the Government’s attitude and explain it to someone, I would give the example of the Government’s support for the banks when they evict people and for the vulture funds when they treat people badly. The Government turns its back on the people who are affected.

“This Government introduced vulture funds to this country. The citizens of this State, through the Government, own or have an interest in some of the banks.

“If the Government wants to solve part of the housing crisis, it must acknowledge that the policies of the banks are the source of some of the biggest issues that we now face, including homelessness, evictions, repossessions, people being put out of their homes and not having any security.

“In July of this year, one particular bank sold 2,100 loans to a vulture fund, according to its portfolio of sales. Those were people’s homes. They ranged in value up to €250,000, so they were not big, expensive properties. These were homes to which people who hoped to own a home aspired.

“The Government allowed that transaction to take place and left those people in a vulnerable position with no security whatsoever.

AIB is preparing a home loan sale that may result in 6,000 of those types of loans being transferred to a vulture fund. Other banks, aside from the one I have mentioned, will sell on family homes and AIB might be next.

“David Hall, the mortgage debtor advocate, called this situation a tsunami. Many commentators will try to undermine him and others by calling that a ridiculous suggestion, but the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach today discovered, as evidenced in the portfolio of sales of a particular bank in April 2019, that banks are now stockpiling for sale homes and mortgages with which they cannot deal.

“The banks are saving the costs that would have been associated with legal fees, administration and finding a solution to the problems within the bank and will cast the people affected to the discretion of the market and what the vulture funds might do with those houses.

“That is the kernel of the problem for a considerable number of people. The Minister of State and his Government do absolutely nothing about it. The Government gives tax breaks to those funds. In fact, it does not tax them at all.

The Government allows the banks that it owns to do this to its people and will not change direction regardless of who tells it to. All of that is being piled on top of the housing crisis.

“Local authorities simply cannot deal with these issues. I have seen how planning applications and suggestions from local authorities are treated by the Department.

“It is heavily bureaucratic and some of the loops and hoops through which people have to go to deliver houses in an emergency situation are almost nonsensical. These are not normal times. We are in an emergency.

“That notwithstanding, the Department continues to put people through hoops and put obstacles in the way of the real delivery of houses.

“I agree that there should be a construction programme directed by local authorities with real solutions because they have the information. Local authorities and councillors know their housing lists inside out and do not have to be told anything.

“They are being stopped in the street and asked when a son or daughter will get a house or by a couple hoping to get a house who want to know when their case will be resolved.

“I do not know who the speaker was but the Minister of State said that they were to pay for bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels. The implementation of that as a policy does not work, and it is not the case that councils will do it immediately for people who are in desperate straits. That is simply not right.

“There is a policy that the Minister of State may have set down but it is not being adhered to across each and every county. As a result, we get different approaches to his different policies.

“Deputy Doherty has a Bill before the finance committee because the Minister of State is looking for solutions. It is the No Consent, No Sale Bill 2019. I will support him on that Bill because it was brought forward in the absence of any understanding of any real policy by this Government.

“I introduced the Affordable Housing and Fair Mortgage Bill here, assisted by the Master of the High Court, Ed Honohan, which went nowhere.

“The Government did nothing about it. As a result of ignoring all the Bills before the House that have passed Second Stage and are waiting to be debated in committee, the Government has introduced money messages and further obstacles of bureaucracy. It simply will not listen to anybody.

“Fr Peter McVerry was on a television programme the other night. He has no political interest, but by God did he lay it on the line for the Government and tell it where it is going wrong.

“The courts are dealing with cases where houses are going to be repossessed. That will mean that families will be put on the street.

“I know of a landlord in Dublin who is trying desperately to hold on to his house. There are at least six people living in that house who will be on the street.

“I know a lady and her children in Bray who have been before and humiliated in the courts. She has been dragged by security officers out of the bank as she tried to present her case directly to it.

“She has been threatened by the sheriff in the most appalling of ways. She is trying to hold on to her home for herself and her children and this State stands idly by and allows the thuggery that is involved in removing people from their homes.

“The Government should be ashamed that it has allowed this to happen.

“I point the Minister of State to the Glenbeigh sale where those who are trying to seek legal representation because of the manner in which that sale was conducted cannot get the Abhaile scheme.

“Even some of the schemes Ministers have in place are not able to be accessed by the people who need them most.

The one man who stood in the gap and stopped some of the vultures and the banks behaving the way that they did, which I thought I would never see happen in this country, including thuggery and corruption – one can throw all the names one likes at it – is Ed Honohan.

“He gave everybody who came before him a chance. He held the banks to account and the President of the High Court, with a nod, I am sure, from the Government, took all those cases away from him. That is a shame in itself.

“It is administration that is not right and should not be accepted. I ask the Government to start in the courts with the banks it owns and stop these terrible evictions and repossessions and do something concrete about this issue.

“On the vote of confidence, I agree Fianna Fáil sat on its hands. It did the same with the motion on the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris.

“The fact of the matter is that a Minister is acting at one with the Cabinet. If a Member tables a motion of no confidence in the Government, I will vote for it because that is the way it should be.

I honestly hope that this supply and confidence arrangement, which is a farce and is accommodating all this stuff, comes to an end quickly in the new year so that at least the electorate can have its say.”

Watch the debate back in full here

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Yesterday.

Outside the High Court, Dublin

A demonstration in support of Ed Honohan (top), Master of the High Court.

Mr Honohan had debt cases removed from him under a direction by the President of the High Court Peter Kelly.

Filmamker and activist Terry McMahon said:

“Ed Honohan is the Master of the High Court. Quite the title isn’t it. Quite the position. Quite the crown for the corrupt. Imagine the kind of man who yearns for that type of title. Master of the High Court.

A parasite dressed up as protector. A scavenger slicing the wounded for the bigger beasts to feed on. A profiteer of misery seeking the virgin bite of a fresh kill. A politician dressed in the clothes of the courts.

As Master of the High Court, Ed Honohan is meant to be a bad man. A malignant succubus. A facilitator of suicide. A team player.

Problem is, Ed is that rare thing in the corridors of power: Ed Honohan is a good man.

They call him an eccentric. That’s what they call good men these days. Eccentric. Some call him a maverick. Some claim this gentle, erudite, soft-spoken, Master of the High Court might even be a hero.

The Working Class have long known what a conveyer belt of dehumanisation the courts can be. Be a billionaire and watch the banks and the courts and the government roll out the red carpet for you.

They’ll make deals with you. Offer you contracts. Tell you to keep your taxes and write off hundreds of millions of euro for you. Be a bloke in a tracksuit and watch them stare with the blank-eyed hunger of hyenas on the hunt.

And these half-crazy half-dogs have acquired a taste for a different kind of delicacy now. They salivate as judges allow their client’s lies to destroy lives with impunity. They listen as a few more nails are banged into the coffin of our liberty.

From protected perches in foreign countries, parasitic vulture bosses instruct local-hire hyenas to move in on the vulnerable because both breeds of scavenger agree that no cold-blooded-kill has quite the warm-blooded payoff of the repossession of an Irish family home.

If that sounds extreme to you, visit the courts and witness for yourself the horror of people trying to save their homes. Witness the murderous malice the bailed-out banks and their capos have for the very people who bailed them out.

Bankers don’t bite the hand that feeds, they rip the entire arm out of the socket and beat you death with it.

And the judges tell you this is what modern justice tastes like. You’re told to swallow the force-fed bile of professional liars. Stand in line in a court ordained slaughterhouse.

Watch haunted, broke and broken people form an orderly queue to be put out of their misery, while the spoils of their lives are shared among their killers.

Nobody speaks out for these people in the courts. People who can’t afford expensive lawyers. People who can’t afford to feed their kids because they’re still trying to furnish a loan that the banks long ago had written off in that bailout. People who can’t afford to think of any way out of their pain, other than at the end of a rope.

In court, nobody protects these people. People like you and me. People like your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your sons, and your daughters. Except for one man. Ed Honohan. The Master of the High Court.

The basic function of law is to ensure moral, financial and physical protections are afforded to all citizens equally. The Association of Judges Ireland states that:

“The idea of law is that it embodies the core values of our society, creating rights and entitlements as well as duties and obligations. Nobody is above the law, no matter how wealthy or powerful they are.”

We already know that’s a fallacy. We have already witnessed the obscene consequences of our neoliberal Government. Policies are implemented. People struggle. People suffer. People die. And politicians get promoted.

Ed Honohan protects people by using the law. In the realm of the hunter and the prey, he doesn’t take sides. He simply holds bankers and their capos to the same standards that those parasites hold us to.

When the law is weaponised by highly-paid henchmen to protect their insatiable vulture bosses, Ed interrogates the bankers’ rabid exploitation of that law and finds a way to hand a few silver bullets back to the people.

He makes the law a two-way street. A little more balanced. Finally accessible to both sides. He brings equality to the law and uses it to do what the law is supposed to do. On behalf of the people, he faces down the vulture funds. And, for that, Ed Honohan has become the hunted.

Countless people will verify how Ed Honohan has empowered them. But a judge wants to stop him. Countless people will prove how Ed Honohan uses the law to protect them. But a judge wants to remove those protections.

Countless more will need the help of a good man like Ed Honohan in the future. Some of those people might be you.

But a judge has taken it upon himself to prevent Ed Honohan from giving you that help. Why would a judge impose such obscene censure on a fellow servant of the public A judge renowned in the past for his attempts to recognize social and economic rights. A judge due to retire in a year or two.

Ed Honohan is trying to protect vulnerable people. And he is doing it better than anybody else in the courts. In a culture where pretenders, poseurs, and politicians fail upwards, Ed Honohan is a proud servant of us, the people. Nobody is quite sure, anymore, who some of these judges might be servants of.

A good man like Ed Honohan wouldn’t be made Master of the High Court today. Fairness and decency and dignity don’t sell in this era of every man for himself and to hell with the vulnerable.

We pay lip service to mental health but, let’s be honest, there is nobody more despised in this country than people who need our help. They are weak. They need to be cut off like the cancer that they are.

They need to be tortured and sacrificed to the banks because only then can the strong survive. Only then can the banks and the judges and politicians go back to rolling out the red carpet for their billionaire buddies flying high above the faulty radar of the law.

Another eccentric Irishman, Edmund Burke is purported to have said, “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.”

But what happens when Good Men do something and get forcibly stopped?

Continue reading

Last night.

In the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness raised last week’s announcement that debt cases are being removed from the  Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan, under a direction  by the President of the High Court Peter Kelly, while addressing the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

Mr McGuinness was speaking during the second reading of Sinn Féin’s No Consent, No Sale Bill which provides that lenders/banks may not transfer/sell mortgages on residential properties to a vulture fund without the consent of the borrower.

Mr Honohan wrote the Affordable Housing and Fair Mortgage Bill which was introduced to the Dail last year by Mr McGuinness.

Last night, Mr McGuinness said:

“Another arm of the State, the courts. Now I understand fully the separation of powers and I take all that but I have to say that the last port of call for thousands of families over the last number of years was the Master’s court – where he checked the paperwork from banks, and indeed from borrowers, and where he forced the banks to correct the paperwork, or to acknowledge that their paperwork wasn’t adequate enough to press the charge against the individual before the court.

“Most of these individuals, lay litigants by the way. And having done that and having done this state a hell of a service and has stood by – fair to the banks, fair to the borrowers, creating a level playing field, he has now been removed from that task by the President of the High Court.

“And I would say it’s an absolute scandal.

“I was astonished last week to learn the newspaper, media, knew it before he did.

And then, to try and compound the problem for the master, there’s certain comments made by other judges and put out into the public domain to discredit him.

“A typical act of trying to destroy the messenger.”

The Ceann Comhairle asked Mr McGuinness to “refrain from criticising the judiciary” and Mr McGuinness continued:

“I’ll refrain now, having condemned them completely for the carry-on of them down in the Four Courts and for the manner in which they treated that individual. It was absolutely incredible to read the reports of it.

The individuals that appeared there in courts, that was their last port of call, now that that’s gone. So the only thing they can do is turn to this House for further assistance No Consent, No Sale, and I would say to this House that that is the road we need to go.

“We need to offer full protection for the individuals who are trying their best to make a deal, to get out of the problems that they have – similar what we did for the banks, exactly the same thing.

“We bailed them out, we put them back in business.

“And let me tell you now Minister, that they are now beginning to treat business people, borrowers and those that are in distress in the same disgraceful manner that had treated them before.

“It didn’t take them long to get back on their feet, to begin to turn around then and treat people in the way that we did not expect. And I encourage you Minister to please examine this Bill.

If you’re not going to support it, give us an alternative, give us an alternative and tell the Central Bank they also have a job to look after the consumer in this case, that they’re not doing.”

Watch back in full here

Edmund Honohan

RTE reports:

Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan has described as “a sick joke” a letter sent from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to a man seeking to avoid repossession of his home to contact mortgage arrears adviser Abhaile.

Mr Honohan said he has people in his court, on a daily basis, who are struggling to hold off repossession, and he had asked them to contact the Taoiseach to see where they could find mortgage-to-rent as a solution.

Mr Honohan said Abhaile is of no use to these people because it is “merely a voucher for €250 worth of legal advice” before you go to the Circuit Court.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he asked why the Taoiseach’s office is so misinformed that it is unable to formulate a reasonable policy to cope with the wave of repossessions that is about to break.

…Mr Honohan has written a new bill that would give greater powers to the State’s financial and legal support services and stronger protections to people who are in mortgage arrears.

However, he said no political party had indicated support for his bill and that this “is a cross party effort”.

He said he was “using the good offices of John McGuinness (Fianna Fail TD) to lodge it”.

Taoiseach’s letter to homeowner described as ‘sick joke’ by Master of High Court (RTE)

UPDATE:

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dail earlier today

Earlier today.

Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan raised Mr Honohan’s interview with Morning Ireland – and his bill in the Dail – prompting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to say…

I haven’t seen that legislation Ceann Comhairle. I don’t think anyone has yet, actually. Certainly, I’m not aware of it being published but, certainly, when it is published, we’ll give it full consideration.

“As we will with any legislation that’s put forward in good faith to see, first of all, is it constitutional, secondly, would it be effective and third, would there be any adverse unintended consequences.

“But certainly, once the legislation is available, the Government will examine it.”

Honohan

“Not many readers will know that a High Court case will often consist only of the Judge reading the sworn written evidence (affidavits) of both sides and judging the case on that basis alone. Significant portions of the written evidence may be drawn to his attention by the lawyers, but no witnesses will be questioned in the witness box. The number of cases being dealt with summarily is on the rise…”

Edmund ‘Ed’ Honohan, Master of the High Court (above), in yesterday’s Irish Times on the dangers of High Court claims being struck out early without the opportunity to go to a full hearing.

We asked Legal Coffee Drinker, what’s it all about.

Broadsheet: “Legal Coffee Drinker, what’s it all about?”

LCD: “Mr Honohan is referring to the jurisdiction of the High Court to strike out proceedings. This jurisdiction is inherent in the nature of a court but is also dealt with in Order 19 Rule 28 of the Rules of the Superior Courts, which provides that the Court may order any claim to be struck out if the documents submitted stating the claim (the pleadings) disclose no reasonable cause of action or if the claim is frivolous and vexatious.”

Broadsheet: “What’s his difficulty?”

LCD: “He believes Judges are striking out cases where they don’t believe the facts as stated in pleadings.”

Broadsheet: “That sounds serious.”

LCD: “If true, this involves judges deciding on disputed questions of fact without an oral hearing.

Broadsheet: “ And is he right?

LCD: “He doesn’t give any specific examples other than informal discussions between colleagues. Of course applications to strike out are preliminary applications brought on motion and a written judgment is not always delivered in such cases. This makes it difficult to ascertain the basis on which a strike-out has occurred.”

Broadsheet: “He raises another issue and that is striking out on the basis of the facts pleaded, in circumstances where the facts as pleaded are incomplete due to lack of knowledge on the part of the witness or their lawyer. What does that even mean?

LCD:” The wording of Order 19, requires the decision to strike out to be made on the basis of the case in the pleadings. I don’t think a judge dealing with striking out proceedings can reasonably be expected to conduct an inquiry to see if there are any additional facts which might make the case a better one.. The question should be whether the facts before the court at the time of the application to strike out disclose a good cause of action and that is all.”

Broadsheet: “And why should we care?”

LCD: [pause] “Striking out of proceedings is a serious matter because it denies an individual their right to litigate. On the other hand, what has to be taken into account is that proceedings cost money to defend. Costs orders usually follow the event so that if the action fails the defendant will in theory be entitled to recoup their costs. However that’s in theory. In practice, particularly in High Court proceedings where the costs are very high, an unsuccessful plaintiff may not have enough money to pay the other side’s costs. This is a difficulty.”

Broadsheet: “I’d say!”

LCD: [Drains coffee] “In the circumstances, striking out a claim which cannot – on the facts as stated by the Plaintiff – legally succeed, would not appear to be unfair. Deciding on disputes of fact without an oral hearing would however be a different matter. If this is in fact what is happening it would indeed appear to be of concern. Striking out proceedings – denying the right to litigate, is a serious matter. Although not required by the Rules, there is an argument to be made that a a matter of practice written judgments should be given in all High Court striking-out proceedings and published on the courts.ie website. [drains coffee] This would enable monitoring of a process which, though necessary, needs to be kept under strict review if the constitutional right to litigate is to be adequately protected.”

Broadsheet: “Much to think about there. Thank You Legal Coffee Drinker. Keep us posted if you can on any developments in this matter if that suits?”

LCD: “Bye.”

Is trend towards summary High Court hearings in the interests of justice? (Edmund Honohan, Irish Times)

(RTE)