Sunday 19 May 2019

KBC seeks injunction against Roscommon eviction family

Centre of attention: The house in Strokestown where a family was evicted
Centre of attention: The house in Strokestown where a family was evicted
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

KBC Bank is seeking an injunction against the family at the centre of the Co Roscommon eviction controversy.

The bank has initiated proceedings against Anthony McGann, his siblings David and Geraldine, and “persons unknown occupying premises at Falsk, Strokestown, Co Roscommon”.

The relief sought as part of the injunction application has yet to be disclosed, but it is thought likely the move is part of an effort by the bank to reassert its right to the property.

The McGanns were removed from the farm on December 11 last year after KBC secured a possession order from the High Court over a substantial debt owed by Anthony McGann.

A video of the eviction posted online showed distressing scenes as the occupants were wrestled by security men.

Five days later a large group of masked men descended on the property with baseball bats and attacked the security guards, three of whom ended up being hospitalised.

Several vehicles were set on fire and a dog had to be put down after sustaining injuries.

A number of arrests have been made by gardaí investigating the matter.

There is no suggestion the McGanns were involved in any way in the incident, but members of the family subsequently returned to the property.

The fresh High Court proceedings were initiated on Tuesday.

Court records indicate it KBC plans to move a motion in court in July.

An affidavit in support of the motion has been filed by a senior manager at KBC.

The bank was previously been involved in protracted legal proceedings against Anthony McGann, dating back to 2009.

It was granted a possession order for the Falsk property last August.

KBC was one of several lenders owed money by Mr McGann, who was the registered owner of the property.

Several judgments have been registered against properties he owns near Strokestown by other financial institutions.

Publicly available records show he also made a settlement of €429,501 with the Revenue Commissioners in 2015 for the under-declaration of VAT.

A spokesperson for KBC declined to comment on the injunction application.

“While KBC does not comment on individual cases, the repossession of an occupied property home is always a last resort and comes after a long period of time when all avenues have been exhausted from a bank and legal perspective,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers in financial difficulty will always have the best possible outcome by engaging actively with KBC. We have been able to find solutions to approximately nine out of 10 cases once customers have engaged with the bank."

In the aftermath of the eviction and the subsequent attack on the security men, around 1,000 people took part in a rally in Strokestown in support of the McGann family.

In a statement issued after the eviction, the family said they wished to make it clear they condemn all forms of violence and want to see the rule of law upheld.

The KBC proceedings come three months after one of the McGann siblings, David, initiated a High Court action against several parties, including the bank, over the attempt to evict his family.

David McGann is seeking various orders and declarations, including an order preventing any party from taking possession of or interfering with the property.

His action is against KBC and a number of entities he alleges are agents for the bank.

These are Trinity Asset Managerial Services Ltd, GS Agencies Ltd, Local Authority Services Ltd, and Aidan Devlin, with an address in Summerhill Co Meath.

David McGann is seeking a declaration from the court that the defendants actions were unlawful, and breached his constitutional rights, and rights under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

He also seeks damages and aggravated and exemplary damages for alleged trespass, breach of his constitutional right to private property and defamation.

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