Wednesday 13 November 2019

O'Donnells thrown lifeline to remain in Gorse Hill mansion

THEATRICAL GESTURES: Brian O'Donnell with his wife Mary Patricia outside the commercial court. Photo: Damien Eagers
THEATRICAL GESTURES: Brian O'Donnell with his wife Mary Patricia outside the commercial court. Photo: Damien Eagers
Gorse Hill, the home of solicitor, Brian O'Donnell in Killiney. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Mark O'Regan

Solicitor Brian O'Donnell and his wife face a "substantial task" ahead of yet another bid to stay in Gorse Hill mansion.

The couple had been warned to be out of the Killiney property by 5pm yesterday but were given another reprieve in the Court of Appeal.

They have until next Thursday to come up with a compelling argument as to why they should be allowed live in the house, despite having debts of €71.5m.

Mr O'Donnell must present his case against a trespass injunction that was issued by the High Court on Thursday.

The Court of Appeal sat yesterday morning to hear Mr O'Donnell's application for a continuation of the stay.

He was seeking to extend the time he and his wife have to vacate the property, so they could appeal the trespass order obtained by Bank of Ireland and a receiver.

Counsel for Bank of Ireland, and the receiver appointed to Gorse Hill, were also present in Court 22 at the Criminal Courts of Justice.

Cian Ferriter, SC for the bank, told the court Mr O'Donnell and his wife are "not the owners of the property", adding that the Bank are "strongly opposed to any stay being granted".

Given the findings of "uncontroverted evidence", the balance of justice is "against any continuation of the stay".

He said the defendants travelled back from the UK "where they live" to take possession of Gorse Hill.

They then invited "third parties" who were "wholly unconnected with the matters in dispute" onto the premises.

"Their permanent home is in England," he added.

Addressing Jerry Beades of the New Land League, Mr Justice Sean Ryan said "lets keep some order here", after Mr Beades interrupted Mr Ferriter as he addressed the court.

Brian O'Donnell insisted he and his wife have "a permanent right of residence" at Gorse Hill.

He argued proceedings have been "railroaded through the courts without any regard for due process and fairness".

"Impossible time limits and deadlines" were imposed in a "deliberate attempt to make it almost impossible" to respond to the claims, he added.

After considering Mr O'Donnell's application, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Seán Ryan said his notice of appeal had to be lodged "by close of business today".

Mr Justice Ryan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, described the matter as "urgent".

He told Mr O'Donnell that he must present his appeal on Thursday.

Accompanied in court by John Martin and Jerry Beades of the self-styled New Land League, Mr O'Donnell told Mr Justice Ryan he was seeking a stay which was "reasonable in the circumstances".

Speaking outside court, Mr Beades told the Irish Independent Mr O'Donnell is "extremely relieved", adding that the family have a "substantial task" ahead of them to prepare for next Thursday's hearing.

In an earlier sitting, Mr Ferriter demanded that the couple "deliver up" the keys, alarm codes, and other "security and access devices" to the receiver, Tom Kavanagh.

He said Mr Kavanagh is "anxious" to seize control of the house "as soon as is reasonably possible."

He is also anxious to ensure that this is conducted in a "calm and dignified manner".

Irish Independent

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