An asset management company has been spared a criminal conviction for hiring an unregistered security firm following a “notorious” farm repossession in Co. Roscommon.
The property at Falsk, near Strokestown, Co Roscommon, was repossessed in 2018 by KBC Bank.
Farmer Michael Anthony McGann, and his siblings David and Geraldine were removed from the property in December 2018 on foot of a possession order.
Four days after the eviction a group of men arrived at the property, attacking security guards and burning vehicles.
There was no suggestion the family was involved.
The Private Security Authority (PSA) prosecuted Discessio Consulting Ltd, trading as Trinity Asset Management Services.
The firm pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court this week to engaging an independent contractor to provide security in Strokestown on December 11, 2018, which did not hold the relevant licence.
The offence on summary conviction in the district court can result in a fine not exceeding €3,000 or, if an individual is prosecuted, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months. Conviction on indictment in the circuit court can lead to a fine or imprisonment for up to five years or both.
The PSA initially brought six charges but withdrew five.
The court heard that Trinity Asset Management Services had no prior convictions.
Counsel for the company asked the judge to note the offence related to the “notorious Strokestown incident”.
The defendant carried out asset management services for various banks. It became apparent that the repossessed house had to be protected.
The court heard the Dublin company hired Armagh firm GS Agencies to take possession after the sheriff regained the property.
Counsel said that staff were "severely assaulted" over five days, and a number of them have brought personal injuries claims against the security agency and Trinity Asset Management Services.
Another party had recommended GS Agencies. Its principal, as an individual, had the authority to work in the republic. However, the company itself did not, the court heard.
Judge Halpin applied the Probation of Offenders Act after the company agreed to make an immediate €500 donation to charity.
The court heard that the independent contractor was convicted of related offences in December 2020.
The PSA is the independent statutory body in Ireland that regulates private security services. It was established under the Private Security Services Act 2004.