Friday 24 March 2017

Farmer avoids jail after agreeing to hand over farm buildings to receiver

Paul O’Shea, a farmer, of Davidstown, Castletown, Co. Kildare, at the High Court, where a case involving a bank appointed receiver continues. PIC: COURTPIX
Paul O’Shea, a farmer, of Davidstown, Castletown, Co. Kildare, at the High Court, where a case involving a bank appointed receiver continues. PIC: COURTPIX

Tim Healy

A farmer has avoided being jailed a second time for contempt after giving a court undertaking to comply with orders to hand over vacant possession of farm buildings to a bank appointed receiver.

Paul O’Shea, of Davidstown, Castledermot, Co Kildare, was told by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan he had 21 days to hand over vacant possession.

The judge told him he could apply later for an order restraining sale of the relevant buildings, and certain lands,  pending a full hearing of the dispute between himself and the receiver.

Mr O'Shea was before the court over alleged contempt of an order granted last December compelling him to hand over possession of the buildings to George Maloney, appointed by Danske Bank in 2012 as receiver over 31 hectares owned by Mr O’Shea.  

The land was put up as security on a 2003 loan which went into default and led to the bank getting judgment for €1.29 million against Mr O’Shea.

When Mr O'Shea said there was a lease on the buildings and he could not remove the property of the leaseholder from the buildings, the judge noted Mr O'Shea was not entitled to enter into a lease without prior written consent of Danske Bank.

The judge said the receiver was legally entitled to remove the goods at issue if the owner of those goods refused to remove them.

Mr Maloney had sought Mr O'Shea's committal to prison over his ongoing refusal to obey the orders of the court.

The receiver complained several attempts to take possession were met with opposition from Mr O'Shea and other parties including anti-eviction activists.

In opposing the application, Mr O'Shea repeatedly expressed concerns about the order's impact on his family and home. he had a young son and had to think about his future and could not allow the receiver to sell all he had, he said.

Earlier this month, Mr O'Shea handed over possession of the lands to the receiver after the receiver applied to have him jailed for contempt. 

Mr O'Shea previously spent 15 days in jail after being found in contempt of orders not to interfere with Mr Maloney's attempts to sell lands. He was released after he agreed to comply with the court orders.

The receiver secured possession orders over the lands in July 2013 and the farm buildings in December 2014.

Earlier this week, the judge was told Gardai are investigating two separate suspected arson attacks on a farm whose owners had agreed to buy the O'Shea farmlands but had since withdrawn from the deal.

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