Monday 5 December 2016

O'Donnell family pack up belonging after losing last-ditch attempt to challenge eviction

Tim Healy and Sam Griffin

Published 28/04/2015 | 17:11

Blaise O'Donnell, daughter of solicitor Brian O'Donnell, leaving her home with two dogs packed into her car ahead of tomorrow's deadline to move out of his Gorse Hill property in Killiney.
Blaise O'Donnell, daughter of solicitor Brian O'Donnell, leaving her home with two dogs packed into her car ahead of tomorrow's deadline to move out of his Gorse Hill property in Killiney.
A van leaves solicitor Brian O'Donnell's home ahead of tomorrow's deadline to move out of his Gorse Hill property in Killiney.

The family of Brian O'Donnell were tonight packing up their belongings after the highest court in the country ruled they must vacate their seaside mansion by midday tomorrow.

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Mr O'Donnell and his psychiatrist wife Mary Patricia went to supreme Court in a bid to prevent a bank-appointed receiver taking possession of their former family home.

Three judges earlier refused an application by the O'Donnells for a stay on the High Court injunction granted last March requiring them to leave the property at Gorse Hill on Vico Road.

They now plan to appeal the decision to the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr O'Donnell tonight appeared at the gates of his Gorse Hill mansion but refused to speak to the media about his looming eviction.

Asked if he planned to leave the home today or tomorrow, he replied: 'No interviews, no interviews."

Gorse Hill: The O'Donnell family have until noon tomorrow to leave their Killineymansion
Gorse Hill: The O'Donnell family have until noon tomorrow to leave their Killineymansion
Pictured is solicitor Brian O'Donnell at his home ahead of tomorrow's deadline to move out of his Gorse Hill property in Killiney.
Pictured is solicitor Brian O'Donnell attempts to close his front gate at his home ahead of tomorrow's deadline to move out of his Gorse Hill property in Killiney.
Pictured is Blaise daughter of solicitor Brian O'Donnell leaving her home ahead of tomorrow's deadline to move out of his Gorse Hill property in Killiney.
Retired solicitor Brian O’Donnell
Brian O'Donnell (left) and his son Blake arriving at the Court of Appeal in Dublin, where Brian O'Donnell lost his appeal against the repossession of his former mansion. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 15, 2015. Dublin's Court of Appeal upheld a number of orders against Brian O'Donnell and his psychiatrist wife Mary Patricia who have been staying since February at the luxury house known as Gorse Hill, at Killiney, overlooking Dublin Bay. See PA story IRISH Eviction. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Blake O'Donnell previously arriving at the Four Courts to resume his fight to keep hold of his Killiney mansion 'Gorse Hill'. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
The O’Donnells have been told to leave Gorse Hill
A view of Gorse Hill, off Vico Road, in Killiney, which Brian O'Donnell and wife Mary Patricia must vacate by the end of the month
Brian O'Donnell leaving Gorse Hill in Killiney for court this morning

He appeared after his daughter Blaise had arrived at the house.

However the electric gates had failed to close as she drove in and Mr O'Donnell - who was wearing brown sweater and cords - then came out to close the gates.

He then returned inside.

A white van, with Jerry Beades Concrete written on the side, arrived shortly before 9pm as the family packed their bags inside.

A few minutes later a jeep came out of the house full of suitcases.

At 9.30 Mr O'Donnell's daughter Blaise O'Donnell left in her car which was packed with suitcases. There were also two dogs in the car.

The 'Jerry Beades Concrete' van then left afterwards.

Land League spokesman Jerry Beades told Independent.ie that he understands the family will vacate the property ahead of tomorrow's midday deadline.

"They had asked for more time to remove their possessions but this was turned down by the bank, I believe," he said.

"I believe they will leave tomorrow."

Mr Beades said: "The decision of the Supreme Court marks a new low in the Irish eviction process.

"The O'Donnell's will now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights."

In their application lodged in the Supreme Court, Mr O'Donnell had argued they wanted the stay pending their bringing an application to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal a court of appeal decision refusing to overturn the injunction.

In that application made last Monday, they argued the appeal centred on issues of public importance which should be determined in the public interest, including issues concerning the refusal of the High Court judge, Mr Justice Brian McGovern, to recuse himself from dealing with the injunction application.

Other issues included arguments the case related to the ability of banks and receivers to obtain a mandatory order to gain possession of a family home rather than issue proceedings for possession and have a full hearing of the matter.

The bank argued the case raised no novel legal issues or principles and leave to appeal should be refused.

The Supreme Court today, comprising the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, Mr Justice John MacMenamin and Ms Justice Mary Laffoy,  refused the O'Donnells application. In a ten page determination, the court ruled the O'Donnells' had not raised issues of general public importance.

The Supreme Court said the Court of Appeal had applied well-established principles in its decision refusing to overturn the High Court injunction. The O'Donnells had not shown a Supreme Court appeal was necessary in the interests of justice and had not made out a legal point concerning the High Court judge's refusal to recuse himself, it added. It rejected all other grounds raised.

The O'Donnells have had a "full hearing" in the High Court where all the issues being raised by them had been raised,  the Supreme Court said. That was followed by a full appeal to the Court of Appeal where the issues were raised, considered and decided. 

There could not be a further appeal to the Supreme Court unless certain constitutional parameters were met, the court added.  Having considered the issues raised, and from the persepctive of fair procedures generally, there was no basis on which to grant leave to appeal.

Nor was there any basis for a reference of issues to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Supreme Court added.

Bank of Ieland appointed Tom Kavanagh as receiver of Gorse Hill in July 2012 and he sought possession of the luxury detached property as part of the bank's efforts to recover a €71.5m judgment obtained in December 2011 against Brian O'Donnell and his wife, Dr Mary Patricia O'Donnell.

That applications was resisted in proceedings involving the couple's four children which were before the court on many occasions.

The O'Donnell parents moved back into Gorse Hill last February after their children vacated it in line with court orders and the parents have been engaged in a continuing legal battle aimed at preventing the receiver taking possession.

Earlier this month, a three judge Court of Appeal dismissed the couple's bid to prevent the receiever taking possession. When told the couple intended to seek leave to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal granted a stay on the possession order to April 29th to allow time for that application to be made.

In refusing to set aside the High Court injunction, the appeal court ruled the bank had made out its case the O'Donnells had no right of residence in the house which was used as security on the couple's €71.5m debts. It also supported the High Court's finding damages would not be an adequate remedy for the bank if the injunction against trespass was not granted and further ruled the balance of convenience favoured upholding the High Court order. 

While Gorse Hill was acquired as a family home, it has not been the O'Donnell parents' home since the end of 2011 when they moved to live in England and continued to live their until the end of February last when they first asserted a right of residence, the appeal court added.

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