Small Business Minister and Sligo Fine Gael TD John Perry was given a mortgage by State-owned AIB in June despite issues over his credit history. The minister is understood to have loans of up to €5m from a variety of banks related to mortgages on properties around his hometown of Ballymote in Sligo.
Mr Perry's role in Government is to bat for small businesses as the sector is squeezed by poor consumer confidence and the ongoing difficulties in getting bank financing. A poor credit history is often a block on getting finance, according to brokers.
Land Registry documents show that a mortgage in favour of AIB -- which is owned by the State -- was registered over one of Mr Perry's land assets in Stonepark, Co Sligo, on June 13 this year. The charge over the property is held by AIB mortgage bank.
However, on October 4, 2010, electricity supplier Airtricity took Mr Perry, trading as the Coach House Hotel, to Sligo Circuit Court over a disputed debt of €13,386. A credit search of Mr Perry's name reveals an unregistered judgement related to the Airtricity proceedings.
Thousands of loan applications have requests for finance turned down by the banks. Unregistered judgements can wipe out up to 25 per cent of an individual's credit rating, according to James Treacy of credit data firm Business Pro. Registered judgements are even more damaging.
"I guess that, in today's environment, if a bank did see that they'd consider it detrimental," according to Treacy.
"It'd stop most people getting finance. If you miss even one repayment on term loans, it'd be a block on a mortgage," Irish Mortgage Adviser Federation's Michael Dowling said.
"It would require someone at a very senior level in the bank to sign off on a matter like this," he added.
"We are not commenting on lending decisions regarding specific customers. However, at all times, AIB ensures that its lending decisions are based on our policies and procedures. As per the Relationship Framework Document with the Minister for Finance, AIB operates on a commercial basis and does not make decisions based on any external influences," according to AIB.
Mr Perry declined to respond to queries from the Sunday Independent last week.
However, details of the action with Airtricity emerged last month as Mr Perry was embroiled in a legal spat over a €1.3m debt related to the lease of a hotel.
"The matter has been resolved, struck out and file closed. As Mr Perry has divested his business interests for a considerable length of time, he had no direct involvement in this matter at any point," Mr Perry's office said last month. It added that the matter had been settled.