Farmer faces jail unless he gives lands to receiver, says judge

Co Kildare man let out of prison on promise to give up property but reneged, it is claimed

A farmer faces going back to prison unless a bank-appointed receiver is able to take possession of some of his land in Co Kildare, a High Court judge has warned.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan told Paul O'Shea on Thursday he must hand over the lands to receiver George Maloney.

Mr O’Shea previously spent 15 days in jail for contempt of court orders restraining interference with Mr Maloney in his attempts to sell lands owned by Mr O’Shea at Davidstown, Castledermot. Mr O’Shea was released after telling the High Court he was prepared to comply with the orders.

However, Mr Maloney’s lawyers later returned to court claiming ongoing interference with the receivership. Mr Maloney and his agents were intimidated, verbally abused and threatened when on the land, the court was told.


John Gleeson SC, for Mr Maloney, said a sign was put up on the lands in recent days stating: “Danske Bank please don’t jail my Mammy and Daddy.”

His client was unable to take possession of the lands due to the deliberate actions of Mr O 'Shea and others, including anti-eviction campaigner Ben Gilroy.

A recent newspaper interview given by Mr O’Shea showed he had no intention of handing over possession of the lands, counsel said and asked for an order jailing Mr O’Shea unless he purged his contempt.

Mr O’Shea, representing himself, denied he has obstructed or prevented the receiver taking possession. In a sworn statement, he said the receiver was misleading the court.

He also rejected claims that he said, in a newspaper interview, he would never give up his farm. What he clearly meant in the interview was he would never give up on the farm which had been in his family for several generations, he said.

Mr Justice Gilligan said the “unfortunate saga” had to end.

Applications to have someone jailed were only brought “as a last resort”, the judge said, adding he wanted to make clear “nobody wanted to jail anybody’s mammy or daddy”.

The fact was the receiver is entitled to possession, he said. He directed the receiver and one other person to meet Mr O’Shea and one other person, who is not Ben Gilroy,  on the lands at noon on Friday when possession of the property must be given to Mr Maloney. If that did not happen, an order for Mr O’Shea’s committal to prison for contempt of court orders would be given to the gardai, he said.

He adjourned, for a week, proceedings seeking the attachment and committal to prison of others, including Mr Gilroy, for alleged contempt.

The receiver secured orders in respect of Mr O’Shea’s lands in July 2013 and orders in respect of sheds on the lands last December. Mr Maloney was appointed in September 2012 by Danske Bank as receiver over two large fields totalling 31 hectares (76 acres) owned by Mr O’Shea which were security on a 2003 loan which went into default. In March 2013, the bank obtained judgment for €1.29 million against Mr O’Shea.