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Widow settles case against Castlebar firms in High Court


Aodhan O’Faolain

A widow who lost over €400,000 that she invested in foreign properties has resolved her High Court action over alleged improper advice as to the risks involved.
Ellen O’Mahony sued financial advisor Mr Thomas Connolly and two Castlebar-based firms of which he is a director – estate-agent Western Premier Properties Ltd, trading as Premier Estates Maloney, and financial-services provider Morcon Financial Services Ltd, trading as M&C Financial Services.
Ms O’Mahony claimed the defendants failed to advise her about the levels of risk involved in property investments in Dubai and Portugal. She claimed Mr Connolly persuaded her to invest in the various projects. She also claimed that the defendants consistently and recklessly misled her and misrepresented the true nature of the investments that she became involved in.
Due to the defendants’ alleged negligence and breach of professional duty, she claimed she suffered loss, and she sought damages.
The defendants, all represented by Paul McGarry SC, instructed by Ferry’s Solicitors, argued Ms O’Mahony was at all times fully aware of the risk involved in the investments.
They also claimed her action was statute barred (no longer legally enforceable owing to a prescribed period of limitation having lapsed) and that there was an inordinate and unacceptable delay in bringing the action against them. She had not been misled nor was any undue pressure put on her to invest, the defendants added.
The case began before Mr Justice Donald Binchy on Tuesday, and adjourned for talks.
On Thursday, Bernard Madden SC, instructed by John Geary Solicitors for Ms O’Mahony, told the court that the case had been ‘resolved to all parties’ satisfaction’ and that the action could be stuck out.
In her action she claimed she made several investments after she received €1.2 million for the sale of her late husband’s pub in Castlebar in 2007. These investments, she said, were based on representations made to her by her financial advisor.
She had sought advice from Mr Connolly from 2004 onwards and had invested in a property scheme in Germany. She invested €73,000 in that venture, which the court heard resulted in her getting her money back plus a profit of €22,000.
She claimed that she was later convinced by Mr Connolly in 2007 and 2008 to make investments in properties in Dubai and Portugal totalling €410,000. However, she claimed that undue pressure was put on her to invest, and that she was not properly warned about the risks involved. The claims were denied.


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