Brian O’Donnell granted another month in Gorse Hill

Solicitor appealing High Court ruling requiring his family to vacate Killiney mansion

 Solicitor Brian O’Donnell has resumed his challenge to a High Court order requiring his family to vacate their Killiney mansion, Gorse Hill. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Solicitor Brian O’Donnell has resumed his challenge to a High Court order requiring his family to vacate their Killiney mansion, Gorse Hill. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Solicitor Brian O’Donnell has been granted a stay of a further month against a High Court ruling ordering him and his wife to vacate their Killiney mansion.

At the Court of Appeal this afternoon, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan said Mr O’Donnell had raised a number of detailed legal issues which could not be dealt with by the end of this week.

The judge extended a stay on the High Court ruling until April 15th, when the three-judge court is expected make a ruling on Mr O’Donnell’s appeal.

In court today, Mr O’Donnell, representing himself, argued that the process to appoint a receiver for the property was legally defective.

He also argued that the Bank of Ireland had ignored the provisions of a charter dating back to 1783, which the company was bound by.

Cian Ferriter SC, for Bank of Ireland, said the receiver had been appointed in a manner compliant with all relevant laws.

Mr O’Donnell and his wife Mary Patricia O’Donnell want the appeals court to overturn a High Court decision granting a trespass order to Bank of Ireland and receiver Tom Kavanagh.

The receiver wishes to sell the house, Gorse Hill, which is valued at €7 million, to meet part of a €71.5 million debt owed by the O’Donnells for various unpaid property loans.

Mr Ferriter has argued that while Mr O’Donnell claims a company that owned the house at Gorse Hill - Vico Limited - had given him and his wife a right to reside at the property, no such right could have outlasted the bank’s security becoming enforceable.

Mr Ferriter said Bank of Ireland is potentially losing €12,000 a month in rental income on the property while the O’Donnells, whose permanent residence was in England, remained in the house.

He said that because the O’Donnells were bankrupt they would not be in a position to pay any damages if the courts found against them.

Mr O’Donnell’s challenge to the High Court order had resumed today.

Additional submissions

The Court of Appeal is hearing arguments on additional written submissions lodged by Bank of Ireland and the O’Donnells in relation to the Gorse Hill property.

In his latest legal battle to retain control of Gorse Hill, Mr O’Donnell has challenged the validity of the appointment of receiver Tom Kavanagh.

Mr O’Donnell has argued that legal documents appointing Mr Kavanagh were not properly sealed as required under the law.

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan said last week that the court was “very anxious to finalise this matter” and had hoped to be in a position to give its judgment by the end of this week.

‘No valid basis’

At last Friday’s hearing, Cian Ferriter SC, for Bank of Ireland, said that Mr O’Donnell was seeking to remain at Gorse Hill “rent free” at Bank of Ireland’s expense while pursuing legal action on points that had “no valid basis”.

Mr Ferriter said the terms of a 2011 settlement agreement, which he said showed Mr O’Donnell agreed to vacate the Killiney property in the event of the bank exercising its right of security, was “simply fatal” to Mr O’Donnell’s case. “This settlement agreement remains binding and operative.”

Mr O’Donnell has argued there was evidence of objective bias in the High Court by Mr Justice Brian McGovern who, he submitted, should have recused himself from hearing the case after issues were raised in relation to the judge’s wife and previous litigation relating to a partnership involving Mrs McGovern.

Mr Ferriter said there was “no credible, valid basis” to the suggestion that Mr Justice McGovern should have recused himself.

Mr O’Donnell also claims the 2011 settlement agreement was procured by deception and that, in any event, it became void from the moment that the bank obtained a judgment in relation to Gorse Hill.

“When you have a judgment, the settlement agreement becomes moot,” Mr O’Donnell said.