High Court was wrongly told activist had assaulted guard

Political activist Ben Gilroy was mistakenly identified as having assaulted a security guard

 Ben Gilroy, founder of Direct Democracy Ireland

Ben Gilroy, founder of Direct Democracy Ireland


A bank-appointed receiver has told the High Court it had been mistakenly told political activist Ben Gilroy assaulted a security guard during an anti-eviction protest last August at a stud farm in Co Kildare.

Mark Reynolds, one of the joint receivers appointed over the lands at Kennycourt, Brannockstown, Naas, said the court was wrongly told, in a sworn statement, that Mr Gilroy had committed an assault. The statement should have said “a member of Mr Gilroy’s group” had assaulted the security guard, Mr Reynolds said.

Yesterday was the second day of a hearing to determine if Mr Gilroy was in contempt of court orders restraining interference with the receivers. Mr Gilroy, a founder of Direct Democracy Ireland, denies contempt and a large number of supporters were in court.

The receivers allege he was among the leaders of a group of protesters that went onto the farm on August 28th and 31st, forcing the receivers’ security personnel off the property.

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

Mr Gilroy, representing himself, says he was invited onto the lands by Charles Allen – of the Rodolphus Allen private trust set up to oppose repossessions – and was there “as an observer”.

He also argues he was not properly served with notice of the contempt application.

Yesterday, Mr Reynolds said he spoke to Mr Gilroy at the Naas property on August 28th. He considered Mr Gilroy one of the protester’s “chief spokespersons” who was “very vocal”.

Mr Reynolds said, when he challenged the protesters’ claim the property was leased to the trust, Mr Gilroy had responded: “Bring us to court”. He decided to leave the property to “defuse the tension”.

The case continues.