A farmer who was jailed over his refusal to obey a High Court injunction not to trespass on or come within 100m of lands in Co Wexford has walked free after he agreed to abide by the terms of the order.
John Kinsella spent a few hours in Mountjoy Prison on Wednesday before being released from custody after he gave undertakings before Judge Charles Meenan to comply with orders in respect of lands at Lodgewood in Ferns.
Last Friday, the High Court directed gardaí to arrest Mr Kinsella, who was not present in court, and commit him to prison due to his failure to comply with the orders obtained against him by vegetable-grower John B Dockrell Ltd, which owns the land.
Mr Kinsella, who previously owned the land, presented himself at Mountjoy Prison on Wednesday morning, before going before Mr Justice Meenan to purge his contempt on Wednesday afternoon.
The judge directed that he be released, after telling Mr Kinsella that the court required “a straight yes or no” as to whether he was going to comply with the order.
Mr Kinsella said he had “no choice” other than to comply.
After Benedict Ó Floinn BL, for John B Dockrell, said that obstructions in the form of a trailer and rocks were preventing access to and from the land, the judge made orders allowing the obstructions to be removed.
When Mr Kinsella said the trailer “isn’t mine”, the judge said he didn’t have to worry about it, and representatives of the owner could remove it.
The judge, who was also told that Mr Kinsella intends to contest the orders against him, adjourned the case to a date in October.
Mr Kinsella was brought before the High Court late last month by gardaí for failing to comply with the trespass orders. The case was adjourned and Mr Kinsella gave a sworn undertaking to comply with the orders until the matter resumed.
Last Friday, when the matter returned before the High Court, counsel said there had been further interference with the land and Mr Kinsella’s vehicles had blocked the entrances to it.
Judge Bernard Barton then made an order directing that Mr Kinsella be committed to prison.
The original trespass orders, which were granted last April, prevent Mr Kinsella, of Ballywilliamroe, Marshalstown, Enniscorthy, from coming within 100m of the lands, from interfering with the property, and from blocking and impeding any entrances to the lands.
The company sought the orders because it had been unable to access approximately 150 acres of land it had purchased in June 2017 in Ferns, Co Wexford, due to Mr Kinsella’s actions.
It accused Mr Kinsella of entering the lands without permission and illegally ploughing them.
It also claimed gates have been chained and large concrete blocks placed on the lands.
Large signs referring to “Vulture Funds and land grabbers” and threatening that “trespassers will be shot” have been erected on the lands, the court also heard.