Man freed after purging contempt over controversial Roscommon farm

Colm Granahan is one of three jailed after refusing to stay away from farm in Falsk

The farm in Falsk, Strokestown, Co Roscommon was the scene of a controversial eviction in 2018. KBC bank obtained a repossession order against the property. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The farm in Falsk, Strokestown, Co Roscommon was the scene of a controversial eviction in 2018. KBC bank obtained a repossession order against the property. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

One of three men jailed for refusing to comply with court orders to stay away from a controversial Co Roscommon farm has been released from Mountjoy Prison after purging his contempt.

Colm Granahan was released from custody on Tuesday evening after he purged his contempt before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland and agreed to comply with court orders to stay away from a farm in Falsk, Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

After agreeing to abide by the orders Mr Granahan (61) was immediately released from custody and walked from the Four Courts.

Michael Anthony McGann, retired garda Kevin Taylor from Longford along with Mr Granahan from Ballina, Co Mayo were jailed by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds last month after they refused to give undertakings to stay away from the farm.

Both Mr McGann, from Strokestown Co Roscommon, and Mr Taylor remain in custody at Mountjoy.

The farm, owned by Mr McGann, was the scene of a controversial eviction in 2018. KBC bank obtained a repossession order against the property.

KBC was unable to secure the property and returned to court and obtained orders in October 2019 granting it vacant possession of the property.

KBC then brought contempt proceedings against the three men over their refusal to comply with that order.

Earlier this month Ms Justice Reynolds said in a written judgment that she was “making an order for the indefinite detention of the three men, until such time that they purge their contempt.

The judge said that it was “manifestly clear” that the three men’s actions amount to a “flagrant, deliberate and contrived breach of a court order made last year preventing anyone from trespassing on the farm or impeding KBC from taking possession of the property.

The judge said that evidence was given to the court that the men were present on the property despite that they were not entitled to be there.

The judge also noted that there was “an ongoing social media campaign,” in respect of the property, “orchestrated solely for the purposes of undermining the authority of the court.”

That campaign also called into question the court’s authority, and invited people to attend at the farm in order to frustrate the High Court order.

The judge added that it was “at all times open” to the three to purge their contempt and undertake not to trespass upon. enter, attend at or obstruct KBC bank from taking possession of the property.

All three had been given opportunities by the court to purge their contempt, but had “demonstrated an unwillingness to do so.”

They were all brought before the court in late November following their arrest by gardaí.

Earlier this week a separate application, challenging the legality of McGann’s detention for contempt, was dismissed by Mr Justice Mark Heslin.

The judge said the application brought seeking an inquiry under Article 40 of the constitution into Mr McGann’s detention was “wholly without merit.”

The contempt proceedings are due to be mentioned before the High Court in January.