Saturday 7 December 2019

Daughter of Celtic Tiger couple appeals access to family mansion

Brian O' Donnell with his wife Dr. Mary Patricia O' Donnell. Photo: Damien Eagers
Brian O' Donnell with his wife Dr. Mary Patricia O' Donnell. Photo: Damien Eagers reporters

THE DAUGHTER of solicitor Brian O’Donnell and his wife Mary Pat, today appealed High Court orders compelling her to give Bank of Ireland access to the family mansion or face imprisonment.

The bank got a 12-hour look inside the mansion at the heart of its €75m claim against the O’Donnell parents, last Monday.

The Supreme Court was told today that the orders allowing access to the house, Gorse Hill, Vico Road, Killiney, on threat of imprisonment, were made in secret and raised matters of constitutional importance.

Lawyers for Ms Blaise O’Donnell are also appealing the orders on the basis that they should not have been held in private.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeals as a matter of urgency and set May 24 to fix a date for the hearing.

An injunction was granted to the bank last Friday preventing the four O’Donnell children, Blaise, Blake, Bruce and Alexandra as well as their parents from dissipating of any of the property in the house, including art and antiques or from destroying it or trying to hide it.

Agents for the bank were given time to examine and catalogue furniture, works of art and the other contents of Gorse Hill on Monday.

Today’s appeal is the latest twist in the increasingly bitter legal dispute between the bank and the bust property moguls.

O'Donnell family sources said they were given no notice before the agents arrived to document their possessions.

Bank of Ireland is chasing the O'Donnells for unpaid debts of €75m that the High Court ordered the couple to repay last year.

Their palatial home overlooks the sea in the upmarket Dublin suburb, and at 9,000sq ft it's around nine times the size of an average three-bedroom semi.

The house features a swimming pool and tennis courts as well as a range of outbuildings.

The O'Donnells borrowed to fund a global property portfolio that was once worth a staggering €1bn.

Gorse Hill was estimated to be worth €30m at the height of the property boom, and could still fetch about €7m.

However, the couple no longer lives there, and have said in court that it is effectively owned by their four adult children through an Isle of Man company.

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