Activist denies organising protest

Gilroy claims he was invited on to lands

 Ben Gilroy represented himself in court.

Ben Gilroy represented himself in court.



Political activist Ben Gilroy has denied he was among the “ringleaders” of a group of protesters who forced bank- appointed receivers off a stud farm in Co Kildare.

In a High Court packed with his supporters yesterday, Mr Gilroy, a founder of Direct Democracy Ireland, denied allegations of being in contempt of orders restraining interference with the receivership of the 120-acre stud farm at Kennycourt, Brannockstown, Naas.

Senior counsel Michael Howard, for receivers Mark Reynolds and Glenn Crann, told Mr Justice Seán Ryan they had video evidence supporting their claim Mr Gilroy was centrally involved in “very unsavoury” events on August 28th and 31st last when protesters went on to the stud farm.

The lands were owned by Eugene McDermott, but were sold last year by the receivers who had been appointed by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation in late 2011 arising from default on an €814,000 debt secured on the lands.

Mr Gilroy, representing himself, said he was invited on to the lands by Charles Allen of the Rodolphus Allen private trust set up to oppose repossessions, and had not organised the event. He was there “as an observer”, he said.

In opposing the receivers’ claims, Mr Gilroy contended he was not properly served with notice of the contempt application and that the court orders preventing interference with the receivers were invalid.

Mr Howard said video material from Mr Gilroy’s organisation, shown to the court, showed Mr Gilroy giving a speech to the crowd on the lands on August 31st last.

An audio recording of an interview with Mr Gilroy on an internet radio station was played and Mr Howard said that involved Mr Gilroy taking “credit” for the protest.

Mr Gilroy argued the video clips showed he was an observer at the protest. He said he had clearly stated during the radio interview he “did not organise” the protest.

Also yesterday, Aidan Devlin, director of a security company employed by the receivers, said he was verbally abused and had a camera put in his face by Mr Gilroy at the stud farm on August 28th.

He had served Mr Gilroy with notice of the contempt proceedings and Mr Gilroy let that fall to the ground, Mr Devlin said. The hearing will resume next Friday.