Cahill v Ireland and Others; Cahill v Coyle and Others

JudgeMr. Justice Cregan
Judgment Date16 May 2023
Neutral Citation[2023] IEHC 290
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number[2019/8493 P]
Patrick Cahill
Ireland and The Attorney General
The Property Registration Authority
Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank and The Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland
The Dublin City Sheriff and Thomas Gray
Douglas Newman Good and To All Persons Concerned with and Residing at 7 Grace Park Avenue Drumcondra Dublin 3
Patrick Cahill
Simon Coyle
Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank
The Data Protection Commissioner
The Attorney General and The Property Registration Authority

[2023] IEHC 290

[2019/8493 P]

[2019/8723 P]


JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Cregan delivered on the 16th day of May, 2023 .


. There are six motions currently before the court in two different sets of proceedings. These are:

1. In the first set of proceedings (Record number 2019/8493P):

  • (a) the plaintiff's application for an injunction restraining all parties from interfering with his former home;

  • (b) an application by Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank, and the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland (“the Bank”) and Douglas Newman Good, (the fourth, fifth and eighth defendants) to strike out the plaintiff's claim as an abuse of process, as frivolous and vexatious and/or as failing to disclose a reasonable cause of action;

  • (c) an application by the Dublin City Sheriff and Thomas Gray (the sixth and seventh defendants) to strike out the plaintiff's claim on similar grounds.

2. In the second set of proceedings (Record number 2019/8723P):

  • (a) the plaintiff's application for an injunction to restrain the defendants from interfering with two other investment properties;

  • (b) an application by Mr. Coyle and Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank (the first and second named defendants) to strike out the plaintiff's proceedings on the grounds that they are an abuse of process, frivolous and vexatious and/or that they fail to disclose a reasonable cause of action;

  • (c) an application by the Data Protection Commissioner (the third named defendant) to strike out the plaintiff's proceedings on similar grounds to those of the Bank and the Receiver.

Background to the first set of proceedings

. On 15 th May, 2006, the plaintiff borrowed a sum of €750,000 from Bank of Ireland to enable him to purchase a house. The loan advanced to the plaintiff was secured by way of a mortgage over the property in Drumcondra.


. The plaintiff defaulted on his obligations to Bank of Ireland and as a result the Bank issued possession proceedings in the Dublin Circuit Court by way of a Civil Bill dated 24 th June, 2015 seeking an order for possession of the property.


. On 23 rd November, 2016 the Circuit Court made an order granting the Bank possession of the property, with a stay for a period of three months from the date of the order. Mr. Cahill fully contested those proceedings.


. The plaintiff sought to appeal the order of the Circuit Court dated 23 rd November, 2016 but was out of time to do so. The plaintiff then issued a motion seeking an extension of time within which to appeal the Circuit Court order.


. The plaintiff's motion seeking an extension of time came on for hearing before the High Court (Mr. Justice Binchy) on 26 th February, 2018. The High Court refused the plaintiff's application.


. Despite the order of the Circuit Court dated 23 rd November, 2016 and the order of the High Court refusing the plaintiff's extension of time, the plaintiff refused to give up possession of the property. As a result, Bank of Ireland applied for, and was granted, an execution order dated 13 th December, 2018.


. It is clear therefore that the Bank had lawfully obtained possession of the property following court proceedings in which a final order had been made and that the Bank had obtained an execution order following the conclusion of the possession proceedings.


. It appears from the affidavit of Mr. Joseph Burke, the Sheriff of the City of Dublin, that an execution order for possession was duly sealed by the Circuit Court office on or about 13 th December, 2018. That execution order was lodged for execution with the Sheriff's office by Bank of Ireland by letter dated 12 th July, 2019. The Sheriff was then instructed in October 2019 by the Bank's solicitors to proceed to take possession of the said property.


. It appears that while the Sheriff is not obliged to write to an occupier before executing an order for possession, a letter to the plaintiff dated 16 th October, 2019 was prepared requesting him to vacate the property by Monday, 21 st October, 2019. This letter was brought to the property on 16 th October, 2019 by Mr. Thomas Gray of the Sheriff's office.


. Mr. Gray stated in his affidavit that he was instructed to hand-deliver a letter to the plaintiff at the property in Drumcondra notifying him that the Sheriff had received an execution order and calling on him to vacate the property on 21 st October, 2019. When Mr. Gray arrived at the property on 16 October 2019 to deliver the letter, he knocked on the door but there was no answer. He tried to put the letter in through the letterbox but it was nailed closed. He could not put it under the door as it was also blocked. As a result he left the property and reported back to the Sheriff's office.


. On 22 nd October, 2019, Mr. Gray attended at the property at 11.45 am with another person on behalf of the Dublin City Sheriff. Mr. Sean Grennan also appeared on behalf of Bank of Ireland together with private security personnel and a locksmith. Mr. Grennan informed Mr. Gray that the plaintiff was still present at the property. Mr. Gray said he therefore proceeded to enforce the enforcement order and take possession of the property. He repeatedly knocked on the front door but he received no answer. He said he asked Mr. Grennan was he happy to proceed with taking possession of the property by forcibly entering the property and he confirmed that he was. The locksmith then drilled the lock on the front door so that the Sheriff's employees could gain entry to the property. However they still could not gain entry. According to Mr. Gray “At this point the plaintiff appeared in a window brandishing a screwdriver, this was the first time he made his presence known to us. The locksmith opened the lock but the door was barricaded from the inside so that we could not open it.” Mr. Gray then said that he called the plaintiff to step away from the door as force was going to be used to gain entry. A sledgehammer was then used to force the door open and the employees of the Dublin City Sheriff entered the premises. The plaintiff was in the kitchen. He refused to voluntarily leave the property and so, as Mr. Gray says, “ it was necessary to escort him from it”. Rooms in the property were checked and possession of the property was then given to Mr. Grennan on behalf of the Bank who then signed the back of the execution order acknowledging receipt of vacant possession of the property.


. Mr. Gray also says that When we went outside there was a large garda presence as the plaintiff had reported to gardaí that he was being stabbed by intruders. We identified ourselves to gardaí and they were satisfied we had simply carried out our duties and we then left”.

The issuing of the first set of proceedings

. Approximately two weeks later, on 5 th November, 2019, Mr. Cahill issued a plenary summons against eight named defendants including the Bank, the Dublin City Sheriff and Mr. Gray, Douglas Newman Good, the Property Registration Authority, Ireland and the Attorney General. The plenary summons is prolix and was drafted by Mr. Cahill who is a litigant in person. It runs to four pages and contains 37 paragraphs of causes of action and reliefs.


. Importantly, at the very beginning of the general endorsement of claim in the plenary summons, Mr. Cahill states the above titled matter relates to the family dwelling situate at [ ], Drumcondra, Dublin 3 bearing unregistered title”.


. There are a large number of claims and causes of action set out in the plenary summons. The plaintiff claims damages for, inter alia, negligence, illegal trespass, conversion, assault and trespass by the Bank and the Dublin City Sheriff and for “illegal possession, continued illegal custody and attempted disposal, illegal conversion of the family dwelling contrary to constitutional and EU law”. He also seeks declarations that the Bank and the Sheriff failed to comply with their lawful obligations pursuant to the Constitution and EU law.


. He also claims that the charges held by the Bank on the property were held pursuant to s. 62 (6) and (7) of the Registration of Title Act, 1964 and that the said Act was unconstitutional.


. He sought declarations that the actions of the first defendant (i.e. Ireland) were detrimental to the private citizen, in breach of public law and constitutional law, and in breach of the EU rights and entitlements of the people of Ireland by permitting the Bank and the Sheriff to ignore the Constitution and EU law to enforce the possession and sale of the property.


. The plaintiff also sought a declaration that he was the subject of invalid summonses and orders, and a declaration that he was entitled to be treated equally under the law pursuant to Article 40.1 of the Constitution.


. It is difficult to summarise such a scattergun plenary summons but, in substance, the plaintiff is complaining about the fact that his property was the subject of unlawful possession and execution orders, that the property was entered into in the manner in which it was, and that he was forcibly removed from the property.

The plaintiff's application for an injunction

. Not content with issuing the plenary summons, the plaintiff, on the very next day, 6 th November, 2019, issued an application for an injunction against all relevant parties and sought an...

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