Thursday 21 November 2019

Farmer warned he will be returned to prison unless bank-appointed receiver able to take possession of land

Judge's gavel.
Judge's gavel.

Tim Healy

A FARMER has been warned he faces being returned to prison unless a bank-appointed receiver is able to take possession of lands.

The warning was issued by High Court judge Paul Gilligan to Paul O'Shea, who was told he must hand over possession of the land at Davidstown, Castledermot, Co Kildare, to receiver George Maloney.

Mr Maloney was appointed in September 2012 by Danske Bank as receiver 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.

Mr O 'Shea spent 15 days in jail for contempt of court orders not to interfere with Mr Maloney in his attempts to sell the land.

He was released last month after telling the court he was prepared to  comply with the orders.

Mr Maloney's lawyers returned to the court last week claiming there was on going interference with the receivership, and he was unable to take possession of the property.

The court heard Mr Maloney and his agents were intimidated, verbally abused and threatened when on the land.

John Gleeson SC, for the receiver, told the court today that in recent days a sign was put up on the lands stating "Danske Bank please don't jail my Mammy and Daddy."

Counsel said his client was unable to take possession due to the deliberate actions of Mr O 'Shea and others, including anti-eviction campaigner Ben Gilroy.

Counsel said in a recent newspaper interview given by Mr O'Shea showed he had no intention of handing over possession of the lands.

He asked for an order jailing Mr O'Shea unless he purged his contempt.

Mr O'Shea, representing himself, denied he has obstructed or prevented the receiver from taking possession. 

In an affidavit, he said the receiver was misleading the court.

He also rejected claims he said in the newspaper interview he would never give up his farm.

What he clearly meant was he would never give up "on" the farm which had been in his family for several generations.

Mr Justice Gilligan said the "unfortunate saga" had to be brought to an end.

Applications to have a person jailed were only brought "as a last resort" and the judge wanted to make it clear "nobody wanted to jail anybody's mammy or daddy".

However the fact was that the receiver was entitled to possession, he said.

The Judge said the receiver and one other person were to meet Mr O 'Shea and one other person, but not Ben Gilroy,  on the lands at 12 noon Friday when possession of the property is to be given to Mr Maloney.

If that did not occur, an order for Mr O'Shea's committal to prison for contempt of court orders is to be given to the gardai, he said.

Proceedings seeking the committal to prison of others including Mr Gilroy for alleged contempt were adjourned to next week.

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