Monday 20 October 2014

Return to Land League days as protesters occupy stud

Published 01/09/2013 | 05:00

UNITED: Protesters walk across fields to occupy Kennycourt Stud, Co Kildare, yesterday.
GAINING ENTRY: Charles Allen cuts a padlock with a chainsaw at Kennycourt Stud

SCENES reminiscent of the Land League days were played out in Co Kildare yesterday as an angry crowd forcefully removed security men guarding a stud farm at the centre of bitter repossession proceedings.

There were angry scuffles and punches were thrown as 160 protesters descended en masse on Kennycourt Stud in Brannockstown, Co Kildare.

The protesters were led by Kilkenny-based Charles Allen, who heads up a controversial trust designed to thwart repossessions.

One of two security men at the stud appeared shaken by the incident as his hat was removed and thrown into the air and he was jostled.

Another security man faced down the crowd for some moments before he was pushed and driven from inside some wrought iron gates at the boundary to the property and on to the public road.

The stud is at the centre of complex proceedings that centre on a legal battle between its former owner Eugene McDermott and financial institutions.

Last month, Bank of Scotland secured judgment orders for almost €7m in the Commercial Court arising from loans dating back to 2005.

In 2012, the former Anglo Irish Bank applied to the High Court to sell the 120-acre stud farm claiming Mr McDermott had failed to repay €814,000 owed to the bank.

However, the large family home at the centre of the stud in which Mr McDermott lives with his wife and family is not part of the proceedings, though issues have arisen in relation to access and egress across the disputed lands.

It is the second time the stud has been the subject of protests. Protesters stopped gardai, receivers and security staff entering the property early last week.

Charles Allen, of the Rodolphus Allen private trust, has said the property had been given to the trust by its previous owner Eugene McDermott and his wife to "protect it for future generations of his family".

He said Mr McDermott was now a tenant of the trust.

Mr Allen claimed the security guards had no right to be on "trust property".

As well as supporters and members of the trust, yesterday's protest attracted a number of business people, farmers and householders in dispute with the banks as well as friends and neighbours of Mr McDermott and his family.

Sunday Independent

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