Five cows burnt to death in suspected arson attack - court
GARDAI are investigating suspected arson attacks allegedly linked to an ongoing dispute over a bank-appointed receiver's efforts to sell repossessed farmland, the High Court heard.
Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was told the family whose properties have been attacked have now withdrawn from a deal to acquire the farmland, which is owned by Paul O’Shea at Davidstown, Castledermot, Co Kildare.
Stephen Byrne Bl, for the receiver George Maloney, said while they were not alleging Mr O'Shea was involved or had anything to do with the incidents, they were "clearly linked" to the dispute concerning Mr O'Shea's lands.
The first incident occurred on May 12 when, in the early hours of the morning, a petrol bomb was thrown through the window of a house where a woman in her 80's was asleep.
The second occurred during the early hours of this morning (May 18) when a milking parlour, shed and farm machinery at the same property were destroyed in a fire.
Five cows were burnt to death.
Garda Superintendent Martin Walker told the court the two matters are the subject of an ongoing investigations.
Supt Walker said in the first incident an "improvised molotov cocktail" was thrown through the window of a house occupied by an elderly woman. Luckily her son was there to put out the fire, Supt Walker said. Two unused petrol bombs were also found at the scene.
In the second incident it was already estimated at least €60,000 worth of damage had been done. That figure was expected to rise , he added.
Both attacks were at properties owned by a family who had agreed to buy Mr O'Shea's land from the receiver.
Details of the attacks were outlined in proceedings brought by Mr Maloney’s aimed at securing possession of sheds on Mr O'Shea's property.
Attempts to take possession were met with opposition from Mr O'Shea and other parties including anti eviction activists, it is claimed. Arising out of this Mr Maloney wants Mr O'Shea committed to prison for alleged contempt of court.
Opposing the application Mr O'Shea said he cannot hand over the sheds, as that would enable the receiver sell his family farm. He dispute the validity of the receivers appointment and argues he is not entitled to possession of his lands.
He also complained that he had not been furnished with documentation including maps of the what part of the land were in receivership, and which parts are not.
Mr O 'Shea previously spent 15 days in jail for contempt of court orders not to interfere with Mr Maloney, in his attempts to sell lands. Mr O 'Shea was released after he agreed to comply with the court orders.
Mr Justice Paul Gilligan warned Mr O'Shea on Monday he faced being returned to prison unless possession of the sheds was handed over to Mr Maloney.
The Judge said if Mr O'Shea agreed to comply with the order he would do everything to insure a the full hearing of his dispute with the receiver was fasttracked through the court.
Earlier this month Mr O'Shea handed over possession of the lands to the receiver after the receiver brought an application to have him jailed for contempt of court.
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.
The case was adjourned to tomorrow.