herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

'Patricia and I have been persecuted for five years now'

COURT: Brian and Mary Patricia O'Donnell
COURT: Brian and Mary Patricia O'Donnell

SOLICITOR Brian O'Donnell claims he and his wife have paid €700m to banks worldwide, but Bank of Ireland is the only one to have "persecuted us for five years".

Mr O'Donnell made the claim in opposing the bank's High Court application requiring him and his wife, Dr Mary Patrick O'Donnell (inset), to peacefully give up possession of the former family home, Gorse Hill, Killiney, to a receiver appointed by the bank in relation to a €71.5m debt that was partly secured on the house.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Mr Justice Brian McGovern reserved his decision.

Mr O'Donnell, in opposing the bank's application for an injunction, also said that while he knew businessman Jerry Beades of the New Land League "as a friend", he had not authorised any statements made by its members over the last few days.

He said a car parked in front of the gates of Gorse Hill was to prevent people rushing into the property, as happened on Wednesday.

Mr O'Donnell denied he was doing anything to frustrate receiver Tom Kavanagh who was due to take possession last Monday.

He was speaking in response to submissions by Cian Ferriter SC, for the bank, who said he was entitled to the injunction because the O'Donnells were simply engaged in "a tactical manoeuvre" to frustrate lawful efforts to take possession, having "barricaded themselves and holding out a spurious right to remain there".

The O'Donnells' true family home is in Surrey, England, where they have lived for the last three years and from where they "flew in at the weekend" to move into Gorse Hill, counsel said.

Given that the "barricades had now been breached" and people were going into the property, his clients feared the security of the premises was in jeopardy. The granting of an injunction for possession was also absolutely urgent for the upholding of the integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law.

Mr O'Donnell, in response, denied they had barricaded themselves in but had to block the doors because on three occasions "there was a rush of people through the gates running around the garden".

There were 65 members of the press outside, and on one occasion broadcaster Vincent Browne "led a posse through when the gates were opened".

Asked by the judge if he tol d Mr Beades to desist from putting out press statements on his behalf, particularly as he must know as a solicitor how unwise it was to do so while proceedings were under way, Mr O'Donnell replied: "No, I do not, I am not with every person who is a member of an organisation. They have a right to free speech and I have no control."

hnews@herald.ie

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