Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A COUPLE claiming they cannot hope to meet their mortgage payments and give their child an education are taking on their bank in the High Court. Roy and Patrice Keating, from Macroom in Co Cork, have filed a plenary summons against Bank of Ireland in a "representative case" taken on behalf of the 1,000 members of the Debt Options group. The organisation representing 1,000 distressed borrowers is seeking damages of €1m from the banks as part of a class-action suit. Debt Options Ireland said the test case lodged with the High Court would prove that banks broke contracts, breached regulations and were involved in misrepresentation.
Spokeswoman Claire Cullinane said the amount of money the Keatings were facing paying in mortgage payments meant they would not be able to meet payments and "give their child an education". "We want to push for this case to be heard in the next six months," she said. She added that they had handed in two pages of claims to the court in relation to alleged actions by Bank of Ireland, which they believe breaks the Code of Conduct of the Central Bank, and amounted to gross misrepresentation. She said the group had been working with Roy and Patrice Keating for some time. "The barristers and solicitors we work with chose their case as one to go forward with. They're a young couple, with a young daughter," Ms Cullinane added. She said that cases had been built using expert legal advice, but that the people taking the cases were likely to represent themselves in court. Some 120 summonses had been issued in October last year, and a total of 1,000 cases had now been lodged, she said. Cases were being taken against all the major banks, she added. "It's across all banks. Our summonses say the banks have broken their contracts, and each summons is looking for €1m apiece in costs and damages. Everybody in the country with a mortgage should be taking a case against their banks." The cost of lodging papers is €138, but it would cost "several hundred thousand euro" to fight each case, she said. The Irish Banking Federation said it had not had any contact or engagement with Debt Options to date. Bank of Ireland could not be reached for comment.

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