herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Co Kildare farmer Paul O'Shea, who has been in prison for just over a fortnight for contempt of court, was released yesterday on a sworn undertaking that he was willing to purge his contempt.

Co Kildare farmer Paul O'Shea, who has been in prison for just over a fortnight for contempt of court, was released yesterday on a sworn undertaking that he was willing to purge his contempt.

O'Shea told Mr Justice Anthony Hunt in the High Court that he was now prepared to comply with court orders restraining any interference with a bank-appointed receiver, George Maloney, in his attempts to sell lands owned by O'Shea at his home in Davidstown, Castledermot.

He said he would not impede Mr Maloney's attempts to take possession of land and other articles of property in sheds at his home. The court had heard that when previous attempts were made by Mr Maloney, of Tilly, Ryan, Glennon, to take possession of two fields and recover goods, he had been met with a human barricade.

When Land League activist Jerry Beades on several occasions yesterday attempted to "assist" O'Shea in addressing the court he was directed by Judge Hunt to step away. "You have no connection with the matter," the judge said.

Judge Hunt said he was prepared to give Mr O'Shea an opportunity to purge his contempt by complying with orders made by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy on July 19, 2013. He said Mr O'Shea had given the court an undertaking to abide by the orders.

The judge said Mr O'Shea would be given an opportunity to demonstrate that he wished to purge his contempt and the court could only take him at face value that this was what he intended to do.

Judge Hunt said the purpose of his imprisonment for contempt was not to punish him but to ensure compliance with court orders .

"If he doesn't comply with his undertaking and with the court orders then he is going straight back to prison," Judge Hunt said. "Any interference either on his part or by anyone with whom he is connected and he will be right back to square one."

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan last month held that O'Shea was in legal detention on foot of a contempt order, a decision which was upheld by the Court of Appeal a few days later.

Mr Maloney was appointed in September 2012 by Danske Bank as receiver over two large fields totalling 31 hectares owned by O'Shea and which had been put up as security on a 2003 loan which went into default. In March 2013 the bank obtained judgment for €1.29m against O'Shea.

Four months later the receiver obtained High Court injunctions restraining O'Shea and all others with knowledge of the proceedings from interfering with his work as receiver.

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