Arrest of three siblings ordered over alleged failure to leave home

Judge seeks detention of McGann family members at centre of Strokestown case

Judge seeks detention of McGann family members at centre of Strokestown case

Judge seeks detention of McGann family members at centre of Strokestown case

 

A judge has directed three siblings be arrested by gardaí and brought before the High Court over their alleged failure to comply with an order to vacate their Co Roscommon home.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds made the order directing the attachment of Michael Anthony, David and Geraldine McGann arising out of what KBC Bank claims is their ongoing refusal to leave their family home at Falsk, near Strokestown in Co Roscommon.

The farm was the scene of a controversial eviction and re-entry by the McGanns in December 2018.

On Tuesday, the judge said she was satisfied to make the order directing the gardaí to arrest the McGanns, and bring them before the court to answer their alleged contempt.

She added the McGanns were fully aware and advised of KBC’s application that could see them being jailed for being in contempt of a court order that was made some months ago.

The judge noted that last October KBC Bank secured an injunction giving the family until noon on Tuesday, November 12th, last to leave and cease trespassing on the property. However, that order had not been obeyed.

Seeking the order, Rossa Fanning SC for KBC said this was an unfortunate situation, but it appeared the McGanns intended to defy and not comply with a court injunction previously granted by the High Court.

The application to have the McGanns brought before the court, counsel said, had been brought with “enormous reluctance”, but it had been left with no other alternative.

‘Eyes and ears’

The McGanns were not present in court on Tuesday, nor were they legally represented. Lawyers who had previously acted for David and Geraldine McCann were allowed to cease representing them by the court.

On Tuesday documents, purportedly from the McGanns, were given to KBC’s legal team and the court by a person Mr Fanning described as being “the eyes and ears” of the McGanns when the matter had been before the court.

Counsel said it was difficult to make sense of the McGanns’ intentions from the documents, other than that they were claiming civil wrongs had been committed against them.

Ms Justice Reynolds adjourned the matter to a date in April.

Last year, KBC secured an injunction requiring the McGanns to vacate their home after Mr Justice Senan Allen ruled they had no entitlement to be on the property.

He also held the bank had obtained and executed a valid possession order over the property, and that the McGanns are trespassers on the property.

KBC sought the injunction after it obtained an order allowing it to execute the possession order over the property. The McGanns had opposed the application.

The case centres on events in December 2018 when the McGann family were evicted from the farm on foot of a repossession order KBC obtained in respect of the property several years ago.

The eviction gained national media attention after private security operatives were forced from the property by a group of masked men.

Gardaí subsequently opened an investigation after security personnel were attacked, with several requiring medical treatment; several vehicles were burnt; and a dog had to be put down due to injuries.

The McGanns, who were not involved in those incidents, subsequently returned to the property and have remained there since.

The property was the subject of a loan agreement between KBC and the farm’s registered owner, Michael Anthony McGann. He fell into arrears on repayments and owed the bank some €431,000. KBC obtained a possession order in respect of the property in 2012, which was not appealed.

The last repayment on the loan to KBC claims was made by the borrower in February 2014.