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Family member 'not trespassing' in eviction row house

Strokestown home owner's brother considers legal action over incident

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Controversy: Masked men attacked security guards at the repossessed home of Anthony McGann near Strokestown

Controversy: Masked men attacked security guards at the repossessed home of Anthony McGann near Strokestown

Controversy: Masked men attacked security guards at the repossessed home of Anthony McGann near Strokestown

A lawyer acting for a member of the family evicted from their farmhouse last month says he does not believe his client's return to the property amounts to trespassing.

Solicitor Donnacha Anhold also said David McGann was now considering bringing a legal action over the eviction, which, along with subsequent events, caused considerable controversy.

Mr McGann and his siblings Anthony and Geraldine were removed from the property in Falsk, near Strokestown, Co Roscommon, on December 11.

The eviction took place after KBC Bank secured a possession order from the High Court over a substantial debt owed by Anthony McGann.

However, neither David nor Geraldine McGann were named in the order.

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.

 

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

Mr Anhold told the Irish Independent that while there was a court order in relation to Anthony McGann, as far as he had been able to establish there was none against his client David McGann.

"So what I am trying to establish at the moment is how anybody had the right to evict him [David] from his own home without a court order," the solicitor said. "The one big lingering issue out there at the moment is whether due process has been followed. That really needs to be looked at."

Mr Anhold said his client was in his sixties and had lived at the farmhouse all his life.

Asked if members of the McGann family were now considered to be trespassing, Mr Anhold said: "No. I can't see a trespass issue."

He continued: "What a lot of people are ignoring is the fact that all of us as individuals have rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, which also grant us a right to private or family life. Your home is part of that.

"If you have a roof over your head and it has been your home all your life, then that is your home. I think this is something that is being ignored at the moment."

The possession order was issued in August following protracted legal proceedings by KBC against Anthony McGann. The case against him was initiated in 2009.

 

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

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

He also made a settlement of €429,501 with the Revenue Commissioners in 2015 for the under-declaration of VAT.

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.

Irish Independent