Saturday 1 October 2016

Farmer jailed for a second time for failing to comply with court order and hand over buildings on his property to bank-appointed receiver

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 08/07/2015 | 16:48

Paul O'Shea of Davidstown, Castledermot, Co Kildare, pictured arriving at the Four Courts today for a High Court action. Photo: Courts Collins
Paul O'Shea of Davidstown, Castledermot, Co Kildare, pictured arriving at the Four Courts today for a High Court action. Photo: Courts Collins

A FARMER has been jailed for a second time for failing to comply with court orders to hand over buildings on his property to a bank-appointed receiver.

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At the High Court today, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he was imposing a punitive order of 100 days imprisonment on Paul O’Shea, of Davidstown, Castledermot, Co Kildare.

It was for his "serious and flagrant contempt" of orders previously granted by the court and of a sworn undertaking he gave to comply with such orders.

Mr O'Shea, who opposed the application for his committal to prison, was before the court over his failure to comply with an order granted last December.

Under it, he was required to hand over possession of grain and storage sheds on the land to the receiver George Maloney, appointed by Danske Bank. The buildings are close to Mr O'Shea's family home.

It was his second time to be  jailed for failing to comply with High Court orders.

He 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.

In his ruling on what he described as "a long running saga", the judge noted the contents of a sworn statement from Mr Maloney' who said Mr O'Shea had refused to comply with his undertaking to give up possession of the sheds.

In his affidavit,  Mr Maloney said on July 7 last he was "physically assaulted" by Mr O'Shea when he tried to enter the sheds.

Mr O'Shea, he said, told the receiver he could not hand over what he didn't have, and denied him entry to the sheds.

The receiver said it was also evident that more items had been were moved in around the sheds that had been there previously.

The receiver then withdrew from the property, describing the atmosphere as "menacing".

The Judge said Mr O'Shea had " no intention of complying" with the court's orders.

In essence Mr O'Shea had been "operating outside of the law", he said.

There was, the judge said, "no reason why he could not hand over possession of the sheds to the receiver."

In all the circumstances he was jailing Mr O'Shea for 100 days. He directed that an order to that effect be served on the Garda Commissioner.

The receiver was appointed in 2012 by Danske over two large fields totalling 31 hectares, and a number of storage sheds owned by Mr O’Shea.

He had put the property up as security on a 2003 loan. Default on that loan led to the bank getting judgment for €1.29 million against Mr O’Shea.

The receiver, in order to sell the properties, secured various orders for possession of the lands in July 2013 and the farm buildings in December 2014, and injunctions preventing anyone interfering with the receiver in the course of his duties.

The matter has been before the courts on more than 30 occasions after attempts to take possession were met with opposition from Mr O'Shea and other parties including anti-eviction activists.

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