Brian O'Donnell's son would 'love to see' bank's bill
Published 18/05/2015 | 02:30
The son of bankrupt solicitor Brian O'Donnell has claimed a "vendetta" was pursued against his family by Bank of Ireland because the bank "took a personal dislike" them.
Blake O'Donnell has launched a withering attack on the Irish legal system following their loss of the Gorse Hill mansion and claimed the bank had decided they were "going to make an example" of them.
The eldest of the four children of Brian and Mary Patricia O'Donnell - who owed Bank of Ireland €71.5m after the crash of the property market - said the family is "not wealthy any more" and declared his willingness to live in a normal three-bed semi on a regular estate.
The young UK-trained solicitor claimed there was no financial benefit to Bank of Ireland having his parents bankrupted in Ireland or in England.
And he claimed that having looked at the case, he reckoned the bank had spent "three, four or five million sterling" just to make sure the bankruptcy was thrown out in the UK.
"That's all money that was effectively flushed down the toilet by the bank because they took a personal dislike to them and said we're going to get them back to Ireland."
Mr O'Donnell added that there was "no commercial rationale for what they're doing, so it has to be a dislike or a principle or something".
In a television interview for TV3, Blake O'Donnell said a company is "not meant to go out on crusades.
"I would love to see the bill for the legal fees," he said, adding: "I'm sure it's scandalous."
It is his own belief that the bank has spent up to €7m on its legal battle with the O'Donnell family.
The interview with TV3's Brian O'Donovan, titled 'The Battle for Gorse Hill', will be broadcast tonight at 9pm.
In it, Mr O'Donnell describes the toll the saga has taken on his parents and siblings and expresses his determination to keep on fighting to win back Gorse Hill after the three-judge Supreme Court finally closed the door on attempts by the family to retain the mansion.
He also describes in detail the family's journey from a life of luxury to public infamy.
"It's taken a lot of mental toll on the family, there's been a lot of stress."
"But at the end of the day, no one has died," he said.
Mr O'Donnell also discussed the settlement agreement proposed by Bank of Ireland, claiming it had been drafted so as "to be unworkable", saying the bank had made sure "to draft the settlement agreement so that there'd be a default on it within a few months."
The site at Gorse Hill was bought by Brian and his wife Mary Pat O'Donnell in 1998.
They then demolished the original house and built a mansion on the grounds which came to be valued at €30m, as part of their €1bn international property portfolio.