Court frees Democracy First activist in farm row
A POLITICAL activist was freed by the High Court yesterday after he was arrested over alleged contempt of an order restraining interference with receivers appointed to stud farm lands in Co Kildare.
However, a threat of being sent to prison continues to hang over Ben Gilroy, pictured, founder of the political movement Direct Democracy Ireland and fourth-placed finisher in the recent Meath East by-election.
The lands, excluding the family home of their former owner Eugene McDermott, were sold last month by Mark Reynolds and Glenn Crann, joint receivers appointed by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) in 2011 arising from default on a €814,000 debt secured on the lands.
The 120 acres at Kennycourt Stud, Brannockstown, Naas, were the scene of anti-repossession demonstrations last August.
The receivers allege that Mr Gilroy and Charles Allen were among a group of about eight men using Mr McDermott's house on August 28 as a base to encroach on the lands under the receivers' control.
In an affidavit, Mr Reynolds said when he asked for the mens' names, they told him and others with him to "f**k off", and some of his team were described as "English f**kers", a "scumbag in a suit" and a "dwarf".
Mr Gilroy was arrested yesterday morning by gardai at his home in Navan, Co Meath.
Warrants for the arrest of Mr McDermott and Mr Allen – of the Rodolphus Allen private trust, set up in an effort to prevent land repossessions – for the purpose of being brought before the court to answer claims of contempt, remain unexecuted.
In court, Mr Gilroy denied any contempt and also disputed that the contempt proceedings had been properly served on him.
Without prejudice to his denial of contempt, Mr Gilroy agreed to provide an undertaking not to trespass on the lands or to interfere with the receivers. The hearing was adjourned to November 15.
The stud farm has been at the centre of a complex legal battle involving Mr McDermott and financial institutions.
Separately, Bank of Scotland last July secured a €7m judgment against Mr McDermott at the Commercial Court.