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Monday 18 December 2017

Children have another month to quit family's mansion

L-R: Blaise and Blake O Donnell, children of Solicitor, Brian O Donnell, pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Mon) after a Supreme Court action.Pic: Collins Courts
L-R: Blaise and Blake O Donnell, children of Solicitor, Brian O Donnell, pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Mon) after a Supreme Court action.Pic: Collins Courts

THE adult children of solicitor Brian O'Donnell have been given another month to leave their Co Dublin home, so it can be taken over by a bank-appointed receiver.

Last December, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal by Blaise, Blake, Bruce and Alexandra O'Donnell against a High Court order clearing the way for Bank of Ireland to take possession of the luxury house at Gorse Hill, Vico Road, Killiney.

At that stage, the bank told the court it wanted vacant possession by February 1 but, when the case was back before the court yesterday to deal with costs and final orders, the court was told three of the children remain there.

Costs

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.

Blake O'Donnell, representing his siblings, opposed costs on grounds including the conduct of the bank of the High Court proceedings and said he wanted to file an affidavit concerning the subject of the proceedings and a possible application for a mistrial.

Chief Justice Susan Denham said the issue of a mistrial does not arise.

After Mr O'Donnell argued there were various errors in relation to the High Court's conduct of the proceedings, Mr Justice John Murray said the Supreme Court decision on this matter was final.

When Mr O'Donnell raised further issues, the Chief Justice said, if Mr O'Donnell wanted to make such allegations, that was for "another court and another day".

Mr O'Donnell argued his side should not have to bear the legal costs on grounds including the attitude of the bank which he said had failed to discuss or mediate matters and instead issued "threats", "injunctions" and "search orders".

It was unreasonable to expect the children to vacate the property by February 11 given its size and the "logistics" involved.

It was a large property containing many things difficult to move, he added.

Rossa Fanning BL, for the receiver, Tom Kavanagh, said he was appointed two and a half years ago and wished to take peaceful possession.

The bank's position was this was the end of these proceedings and it should get its costs but it would agree to the O'Donnell's being given a further month to get their affairs in order.

Giving the court's decision, the Chief Justice made a formal order dismissing the appeal, granted costs to the bank of the proceedings in the High and Supreme Courts and directed the O'Donnells to leave Gorse Hill by midday on March 2.

Trust

Gorse Hill was acquired in 1997/98 for nearly €1.4m as the O'Donnell family residence in what the court described as part of a "very complex legal structure" involving the setting up of a discretionary trust.

An adjoining piece of land was later acquired. It is now said to be worth up to €7m.

In December 2011, the bank obtained judgment for €71.5m against the O'Donnell parents.

Mr Kavanagh later sought possession of the house, arguing it formed part of securities and guarantees given in 2006 in relation to the O'Donnell parents' debts.

hnews@herald.ie

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