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'We will not walk quietly into the night'

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Blaise and Blake O'Donnell

Blaise and Blake O'Donnell

David Conachy

Blaise and Blake O'Donnell

The adult children of embattled solicitor Brian O'Donnell have defended the family's decision to fight for Gorse Hill.

Blaise (27) and Blake (31) O'Donnell said that while people may feel they just "go away and walk quietly into the night", they had decided that "at this point of no return" they would not do that.

"It's a decision that we are all behind and we've come this far," said Blaise. "Just because they're the bank doesn't mean they're right." Her brother, Blake said: "We are going to put our case forward. The courts will decide.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent, the brother and sister discussed the impact the long-running legal battle had on their family, saying it has been "nothing but hassle".

"We don't talk about anything else. We live it every day," said Blaise. "You never know what they are going to attack you with next."

They said as children they had no idea of the extent of their parents' wealth at the height of their financial success. "We didn't have a clue. We had no idea we owned the house. Our parents kept that from us.

"They wanted us to get on with our lives and do things, and not think we were entitled," said Blake.

Life was "boring" and "normal", they said.

But when the financial crisis hit and their father's property empire collapsed, the situation became "fraught". They were "on edge all the time" because they never knew when the next summons server would appear at the front door. And then there were what Blaise calls the "dawn raids".

The first was in April 2012, when the bank's solicitors sent out a team to itemise valuables.

She claimed it took eight hours, with solicitors and valuers for the bank going through the drawers in the house. A second "raid" occurred last month when bailiffs sent on behalf of the official assignee supervising her parents' bankruptcy took furniture and some paintings from the house, she claimed.

Irish Independent