Land League chief denies removing Gorse Hill knobs
Self-styled anti-eviction campaigner Jerry Beades has reacted angrily to allegations that members of the New Land League stripped the palatial Killiney home of embattled solicitor Brian O'Donnell's family of various fittings before receivers, appointed by the Bank of Ireland, arrived to change the locks.
A claim made by an informed source to the Sunday Independent that Gorse Hill had been the subject of a "hostile handover", where even door handles and light fittings had been removed, was flatly rejected by Mr Beades.
"That's news to me. Who's saying that, the receiver? Totally not true, whatsoever. Nothing like that was touched," he said, denying the suggestion.
Pressed on the matter of the removal of the house's light fittings, he added: "The light fittings are not part of the fixture and the fittings of the house. The thing is there is no mortgage on that house; all they [the bank] got was a possession order. This is all what the cases down the courts are about. The house wasn't stripped."
Mr Beades, a builder by trade and a vocal member of Fianna Fail's influential national executive during its period in government, told the Sunday Independent how he had taken a walk through Gorse Hill before Mr O'Donnell and his wife, Mary Pat, had vacated the property, noting the large number of items which had been left behind.
He said: "I walked through the house and I can assure you there was huge amount of stuff in the bathrooms that could have been stripped and it wasn't. There's a huge amount of stuff left around the garden area that could have been taken and it wasn't touched."
Asked to respond to further claims made to this newspaper that several pieces of Gorse Hill's garden furniture had either been damaged or removed from the property, he said: "Anything like that is part of the contents of the house. They're entitled to take anything that's part of the contents, but the house wasn't stripped. There wasn't any damage done to anything in the garden."
Referring to his own role on the morning of Mr and Mrs O'Donnell's departure from the house, which is situated on the exclusive Vico Road, and within a short stroll from the home of U2 lead singer Bono, the New Land League chief said: "A lorry went in at six in the morning and brought everything. He [Brian O'Donnell] had personal effects that he couldn't take and that's all that my van went out to take."
Mr Beades, who has emerged as a close ally and supporter of the O'Donnell family in their struggle against BoI, stressed that the battle for Gorse Hill, as it has become known, is still far from over.
He said: "It's not Brian O'Donnell's house, and all those court cases are in. The house is registered at the Land Registry under Vico Capital and there's no possession order, so how the bank is going to sell it is a mystery. All they [the bank] have is vacation; they have trespass orders against the O'Donnells but they have no possession order. So the house is still theirs [the O'Donnells] as far as they're concerned."