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Please note that text in red denotes my comments

A letter from Official Solicitor Redpath to the Department of the Environment dated 23/6/1992.

Dear Mr O'Hare

Title to properties at Smithfield/Francis Street

1. Since the appointment of the Official Solicitor to act as Committee of the estate of (now Controller for) Mr Frederick Andrews junior (the Patient), by Order dated 11 January 1979, extensive enquiries have been made to identify and establish the titles which the Patient then had (or might previously have had) to any domestic, commercial or investment properties - the beneficial interest in which would have been conveyed or assigned to him by his late father, Frederick Andrews senior. [I would bet my last pound that the above is totally true, Mr. Redpath. Mr. Gilpin started that search in order to take over all the properties he could get his hands on, Tughan & Co assisted in that and even kept deeds belonging to my sister which she never got back and Official Solicitor after Official Solicitor did exactly the same. The reason why the RUC Fraud Squad findings were never allowed to be presented to the High Court was that those findings would have exposed the whole dirty game that was played at Freddie Andrews expense and he was helpless to do anything about it. Just because I have opposed this dirty criminal game, which you, Mr. Redpath, are part of, you and your fellow former Official Solicitors dish the dirt not only to me but to other members of my family in order to try to cover-up your fraud. That fraud is now being laid bare.]Apart from the original Andrews family home, "Tara", 14 Castlehill Road, Belfast, and its replacement in which the Patient still resides with his sister Mrs Eileen Wright at 4 Norwood Gardens, Belfast, the most valuable properties which had been purchased originally by Mr Andrews senior on behalf of the Patient were those located in the area bounded by Smithfield Square (North side) and Francis Street.

2. The titles to 2 properties located in this area, adjoining other commercial properties held in the name of the family company, Andrews & Company (Belfast) Limited, were originally identified in the course of initial enquiries by the Official Solicitor (then Mr Drennan) in 1979 and are fully described in paragraph 13 of a report submitted to the Court by the Official Solicitor (then Mr Hall) on 30 January 1984. Whatever confusion may now have arisen by reason of inaccurate or obsolete references to particular street numbers of any adjoining properties, there is no doubt as to the location and extent (dimensions) of either of the properties in respect of which the Official Solicitor was ultimately in a position to demonstrate a valid title on behalf of the Patient.

3. The primary source of information regarding the title to any of the Patient's (known) properties, provided both for Mr Drennan and for Mr Hall, was the firm of Messrs James Boston & Sullivan (Miss Gwendoline Sullivan) - who had acted as solicitors for the late Mr Andrews senior, for other members of the family and for the family company for many years up to 1973. Although the late Mr Andrews during his lifetime had engaged the services of several estate agents in managing and dealing with various properties it was believed that all legal work undertaken on his behalf or upon his instruction had been transacted by Messrs Boston & Sullivan.
In response to enquiries addressed to her, Miss Sullivan confirmed that neither from records in her office (clients files, record cards or deeds registers) nor from her own recollection of transactions with which she had been personally involved or discussions with the late Mr Andrews was there anything to suggest that the Patient had ever acquired a beneficial interest in any properties in the Smithfield area other than those described in Mr Hall's report mentioned above. At a later stage successive Official Solicitors (Mr Hall, Mrs Deirdre Bowers and I) have made enquiries of Messrs Carson & McDowell (Mr Alan Reilly), solicitors acting for Project Assessment and Development Limited, in regard to any title(s) which that firm might have identified in relation to other adjoining properties which might ever have been held in the name of the Patient. Mr Reilly reported that he had been unable to trace any such interest acquired by or on behalf of the Patient and, clearly, neither has your Department following the making of the vesting Order.

To return to the properties referred to by Mrs Wright in her correspondence my views would be as follows:-

4. 9 Francis Street

9 Francis Street was part of a parcel of property (1-11 Francis Street) held by the Patient under an Assignment of Lease dated 1 December 1958. The original Lease ran for 990 years from 21 September 1860. 1-11 Francis Street and 66-69 Smithfield were sold by the Official Solicitor acting as Controller for the Patient on 1 October 1987 to Project Assessment and Development Limited, that sale having been approved on 9 March 1987 by (then) Mr Justice MacDermott. Project Assessment Development Limited were acquiring properties in this area for Laing's who were developing the site. When the Department of the Environment, on behalf of Laing's, vested 9 Francis Street the pur0ose was to acquire not the Patient's leasehold interest which Laing's already owned but the reversionary ie freehold interest belonging to the successors in title of the head landlord. The value of this interest is small and is not something to which the Patient has (or ever had) any entitlement.

5. 61 Smithfield

The position in relation to 61 Smithfield is rather more complex. The premises comprising a car showroom (known as 62-65 Smithfield), previously owned by the Patient, were held with freehold title under a Conveyance dated 14 February 1961.
The property conveyed on that date was delineated on a map endorsed on the deed of Conveyance. However what was conveyed by the deed was not necessarily 62-65 Smithfield but the area delineated by the map endorsed on the deed. The passageway next to the property owned by the Patient was described in the Vesting Order map as "58 Smithfield". I am therefore driven to the view that Nos 59-61 Smithfield originally occupied part of the area known as 62-65 Smithfield which was conveyed to Project Assessment Limited in 1987. House numbers in this part of Belfast are not particularly helpful as the original buildings may have been demolished some considerable time ago and the property may have changed hands several times since.

6. The only alternative to this view is that the passageway described in the Vesting Order as "58 Smithfield" is in fact 61 Smithfield.

7. The property described a "58 Smithfield" on the Vesting Order belonged to Andrews & Co (Belfast) Ltd and was held by them under an original Fee Farm Grant dated 9 May 1899.

8. Therefore whether or not the area described in the Vesting Order as "58 Smithfield" is actually 61 Smithfield is irrelevant as the Patient could not establish title to that particular area of ground as title clearly lay with Andrews & Co (Belfast) Ltd.

9. Finally it should be noted that at all stage of the review of the Patient's affairs both Mrs Eileen Wright and other members of the family and their several solicitors have been asked to assist the Court (and successive Official Solicitors) by furnishing any information which might lead to the discovery of any other property which might have been acquired on behalf of the Patient.
At a meeting with Mrs Wright and her solicitor (then Mr H L McCracken of Messrs John Johnson & Son) and others with the Official Solicitor on 19 January 1984 and, again, at a further meeting with Mrs wright and her solicitor (then Mr Norman Shannon) and other with the Official Solicitor and Master Hall on 24 June 1988 no specific information was provided which would assist in identifying any other properties owned by the Patient.

Yours sincerely


Official Solicitor

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