Thursday 23 November 2017

Farmer and supporters face being jailed over alleged interference with receiver

Ben Gilroy
Ben Gilroy

Tim Healy

A farmer, his wife and several others - including anti eviction activist Ben Gilroy - face being jailed over alleged interference with a receiver trying to sell land in Co Kildare.

Paul O'Shea spent just over two weeks in jail on foot of a finding that he was in contempt of court orders not to interfere with receiver George Maloney, in his attempts to sell land owned by Mr O’Shea at his home in Davidstown, Castledermot.

Mr O'Shea was released earlier this month after told the High Court after he gave a sworn undertaking that he was willing to purge his contempt and comply with court orders.

The matter was adjourned on certain conditions, in a bid to progress matters.

However, when the matter returned before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan Tuesday (April 28) the court was told there is on going interference with the receivership.

Mr Maloney said he and his agents has been intimidated,  verbally abused, threatened, and put under surveillance while on the land.

Mr Maloney said in recent visits an unidentified person asked him if "felt safe being on the fields, " and described him as being a "brave man". 

On another occasion he was told by another person he would be "buried in the field".

As a result, Mr Maloney is seeking attachment and committal to prison of Mr O'Shea, his wife Emer along with several supporters including Mr Gilroy, who he says was present and was giving advice to those preventing him from carrying out his duties as receiver.

He claims he was told by Mrs O'Shea: "for the record I am ordering you off the lands. In case you think you have possession of my fields out there you don't."

In an affidavit, Mr Maloney says Mr O'Shea and Mr Gilroy are "toying" with the court.

There was now a level of "lawlessness and connivance" which was now "out of control."

He added that matters were not being helped by constant inaccurate briefings given by Mr O'Shea's supporters to local community leaders.

This had led to a wildly misleading statement from Mattie McGrath TD on social media, and was repeated in a more "incendiary terms" in the Dail.

Mr Maloney added he has had to meet with TDs in Kildare to ensure they are informed as to the facts of the situation and the orders of the court.

Paul O'Shea told the court the receiver's most recent presence on the land was an attempt to "antagonise him."

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted Mr Maloney's lawyers permission to apply to have the O'Shea's, Mr Gilroy and others who are yet to be identified, brought before the court for alleged contempt.

The matter was adjourned to next week.

Mr Maloney was appointed receiver in September 2012 by Danske Bank over 31 hectares owned by Mr O’Shea and which had been put up as security on a 2003 loan which went into default.

In March 2013, the bank obtained judgment for €1.29 million against Mr O’Shea.

The receiver later obtained High Court injunctions restraining Mr O’Shea and all others with knowledge of the proceedings from interfering with his work.

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