Builder brothers to appeal £8.5m court order

Two Co Derry brothers whose construction empire collapsed have pledged to appeal a court order to pay over £8.5m to Ulster Bank.

Michael and John Taggart, from Drumsurn, were held liable for loans made before their company was placed into administration as the property crash took hold in 2008. The High Court in Belfast made the ruling with regard to two separate writs against the brothers for the sums of £5m and 4.3m euro.

Proceedings were brought against them over joint personal guarantees for borrowings by their companies Taggart Holdings Ltd in Northern Ireland and Taggart Homes Ireland Ltd in the Republic.

Much of the case centred on a dispute over whether or not the guarantees were temporary.

The brothers argued that they did not have the benefit of legal advice before they signed.

The firm was a major success story during the property boom, with the brothers believed to have amassed huge personal fortunes. But in 2008, their business became one of the highest-profile casualties of the property crash.

The Taggarts recently filed a separate multi-million pound lawsuit against Ulster Bank, claiming it acted prematurely when administrators were called in.