Solicitor Brian O’Donnell barricaded himself into his palatial Killiney home today in a last-ditch effort to prevent a bank taking possession of it.
The high-profile legal eagle invited members of the Land League anti-repossession movement into Gorse Hill on Vico Road, once valued at €30m.
Brian and his wife, psychologist Dr Mary Patricia O’Donnell, were being pursued for a debt of €71.5m by Bank of Ireland when they began court proceedings to repossess their home.
The O’Donnell’s argued that their children – Blaise, Blake, Bruce and Alexandra – had legal entitlement to the house.
Last month, the children were given until today to leave the property overlooking Killiney Bay so it can be taken over by a bank-appointed receiver.
But this morning, Brian O’Donnell – aided by the Land League – stayed in the house.
It is understood that legal papers were due to be filed at the High Court today seeking an injunction to put a stay of execution on the repossession.
“The bank that is seeking possession of the house is the wrong arm of the Bank of Ireland to the bank that the O’Donnell’s took out a loan with,” Jerry Beades of the Land League claimed.
A member of the Land League at the house, John Martin, said that the receiver had expressed a wish to take peaceful possession of the house at 11am today.
A car was parked outside the gates of the house and a second car was parked across the gates on the inside which would prevent the gates being opened.
Mr Beades said Brian O’Donnell would stay in the house until the application for the injunction was processed.
“The order is for his children to leave the house today, not Mr O’Donnell himself,” he said.
Brian O’Donnell was approached for comment through the Land League group but he declined to talk this morning.
Last December, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal by the four O’Donnell children against a High Court order clearing the way for Bank of Ireland to take possession of the luxury house.
At that stage, the bank told the court it wanted vacant possession by February 1.
However, when the case was back before the court to deal with costs and final orders, the court was told three of the children remain there.
Cian Ferriter SC, for the bank, sought its legal costs and indicated the bank was prepared to permit the O’Donnells remain until February 11.
This was later extended to today, March 2.
The Sunday Business Post reported yesterday that the O’Donnell children and their father are suing Bank of Ireland and an number of other parties, including the receiver Tom Kavanagh of Kavanagh Fennell, in a bid to hang on to the family home.
Last week, Brian O’Donnell and his wife Dr Mary Patricia lost a Supreme Court appeal seeking to overturn their bankruptcy.