The High Court has ordered a Donegal couple, who received almost €300,000 from their friend and claimed that the money was a gift, to repay the money immediately, with interest.
Earlier this month, the court ruled that €280,000 given by 59-year-old Della Kerrigan to her friends John and Jacqueline Keenaghan in 2010 was a loan not a gift.
The money was part of a sum of €750,000 given to Ms Kerrigan, from Ballyshannon, as compensation for injuries she suffered in a road accident in which her father died.
RTE reports that the court heard the Keenaghans paid off all their debts, financed their children’s education, retrained as counsellors and psychotherapists, and opened a new business.
They claimed the money was a gift given to them “out of the blue” when they were in financial difficulties.
Ms Kerrigan, meanwhile, is now in very poor financial circumstances and is living on payments from the Department of Social Protection.
Today, she said she was “glad it was all over” but was “deeply disappointed” that her friends had betrayed her.
Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said the Keenaghans had chosen to deny their debt, instead of acknowledging it, and this was an enormous breach of trust.
This morning, she ruled the Keenaghans must pay interest on the money, at a rate of 8% set under legislation, beginning from 2014, when Ms Kerrigan originally asked Mrs Keenaghan to begin repaying the money.