Sunday 23 October 2016

Family reaches end of the road in Battle for Gorse Hill

Published 29/04/2015 | 02:30

Blaise O'Donnell, daughter of solicitor Brian O'Donnell, leaving her home with two dogs packed into her car
Blaise O'Donnell, daughter of solicitor Brian O'Donnell, leaving her home with two dogs packed into her car

IT is finally the end of the road for the O'Donnells and Gorse Hill. After almost three years of tortuous legal wranglings, stays and appeals, the three-judge Supreme Court has finally closed the door on attempts by former solicitor Brian O'Donnell and his wife Dr Mary Patricia to retain their Killiney mansion.

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The couple, who were declared bankrupt in 2013, now have until noon today to vacate the property, which was once valued at up to €30m.

But if we have learned anything from the Battle for Gorse Hill, it is that Brian O'Donnell will use every weapon in his legal arsenal to hold on to his mansion by the sea. For months now, he has been trooping into the Four Courts flanked by his solicitor son Blake ready for the next skirmish.

A jaunt to the European Court of Justice has been hinted at in the past, although the Supreme Court yesterday sought to close off this avenue saying there was no basis for a reference of the case to Luxembourg.

There have been a number of false dawns in attempts by Bank of Ireland - which is owed €71.5m - to wrest control of Gorse Hill from the O'Donnells.

In a moment of high-drama last month, played out in front of the national media, representatives of the receivers nailed an eight-page court order to the gates of the Italianate mansion warning the couple they could face jail if they didn't vacate the property by 5pm the following day.

That deadline came and went without the O'Donnells leaving - instead they were thrown yet another lifeline when the Court of Appeal granted a stay allowing the couple to remain at their mansion for a bit longer.

A blockade of the property by the New Land League, at the invitation of the O'Donnells, only served to prolong matters and delay the inevitable day of reckoning - although it did provide an opportunity for Vincent Browne to stage a farcical one-man invasion of Gorse Hill's grounds.

The media will once again decamp to the Vico Road today. We must now wait and see if it is the removal trucks or the bailiffs that cross the threshold first.

Irish Independent

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