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Protest at meat plant ends months after bank secures €1.9m judgement


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The owner of a Co Donegal meat plant, which has been occupied for several months in a dispute with a bank-appointed a receiver will vacate the premises, the High Court has heard.

Liam McGavigan gave the sworn undertaking to the court on Tuesday concerning a plant he owns in Lifford, which had been operated by Edenmore Farm Meats Ltd.

The plant ceased operating last October after several people allegedly illegally barricaded themselves into it in a dispute about the take-over of the premises by a bank-appointed receiver in October of last year.

AIB appointed Luke Charleton as receiver arising out of an alleged failure by Mr McGavigan to satisfy a demand by the bank for the repayment of loans. It has secured a judgement against him for some €1.9m the court heard. 

AIB said Mr McGavigan, his brother Ciaran, and others, had shut down operations there by the sit-in.   

They had barricaded themselves into the plant preventing the receiver from taking possession of the plant.   

The bank obtained orders and injunctions against both Liam and Ciaran McGavigan as well as against unknown others allegedly occupying the plant requiring them not to trespass.   

When this did not happen, AIB and the receiver sought the attachment and committal to prison of those allegedly in contempt of the orders.  

The matter was adjourned from time to time due to difficulties in serving the proceedings on the defendants.

When the matter returned before Mr Justice  Paul Gilligan on Tuesday, Liam McGavigan gave a sworn undertaking to vacate the premises and not to interfere with the receiver from carrying out his duties. 

Representing himself Mr McGavigan said he rejected much of what had been said by AIB and the receivers relation to the dispute. 

He said there was a conspiracy involving to sell the plant, and also told the court he had been threatened and that his life was in danger.

He said that the occupation was done "not for me" but to ensure local farmers got paid what was owed to them by Edenmore a company which he said he had leased the plant to. 

Mr McGavigan said his brother Ciaran was not involved in the matter.

He asked the court to allow him stay on the premises for another two weeks or when separate proceedings he has brought against various parties including the bank and the receiver come before the High Court. 

He said he needed additional time so he could meet farmers at the premises. 

Mr Justice Gilligan refused the application. The bank also rejected his claims about a conspiracy, the court heard.

The judge warned Mr McGavigan about the consequences of not adhering to a sworn undertaking.

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