A woman and her former partner have broken back into and re-occupied their former south Dublin residence, forcing the new owner and his tenants onto the street, the High Court has been told.
The woman earlier this year spent four months in prison over her failure to comply with a court order to vacate the property, said to be valued at about €1 million. For legal reasons, neither she nor the man can be identified.
On Wednesday, the court was told the woman, her former partner and their two teenage daughters have unlawfully occupied a property bought by Shawl Property Investments Ltd last September from a receiver appointed by a property fund.
The house was bought along with a related property in Dublin 4 previously owned by the man.
In December, Shawl’s two directors and several tenants took up residence in the two properties and since then, there have been “orchestrated attempts” by persons connected to the couple to force the occupants out, it is claimed.
The directors claim there have been attempts by the couple and their associates to break into the properties, one of the directors was assaulted and they have been subject of a campaign of intimidation on social media.
The company claims the man and six accomplices last Monday broke into one of the properties and changed the locks.
The woman and her teenage daughters entered that house later on that evening and have refused to leave, it is claimed.
It is claimed, following alleged threats and intimidation, the occupants of the property were forced to leave it.
One of Shawl's directors, Martin Sadlier, lives at the house and claims he has been unable to get back into the property.
He and the other tenants have been staying at other locations or with friends but have been separated from much of their belongings, he said.
The company has been informed the property is owned by a trust established last September in favour of the woman’s daughters. It rejects that claim.
Rossa Fanning, with Stephen Byrne BL, for Shawl, said actions over the property had “quite an exhaustive history” and the property is one of several purchased by the man with EBS loans.
EBS Ltd got a €9.4 million judgment against the man in 2011 over the loans which had been secured on the properties.
A receiver was appointed over the properties, none of which were ever a family home, counsel said.
Beltany Property Finance acquired the loans from EBS in 2017.
The woman had contended she had obtained orders in family law proceedings including a right of residence in one of the properties and claimed she would have been surrendering her family law rights if she had vacated it.
Her claims were rejected by the courts, clearing the way for the receiver to sell the properties, counsel said.
Arising out of the woman’s refusal to comply with orders granting the receiver possession she was jailed for contempt last May.
She was released from Mountjoy Prison in late August after giving undertakings she and her children would vacate the property.
The defendants, counsel said, “have no contractual entitlements to the property” and their presence there was “grossly illegal”.
The woman is well educated and, given the previous litigation, could be under no misapprehension as to the seriousness of this conduct, counsel said.
The director and the legitimate tenants had been put on the street by the defendants, he said.
Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted counsel's ex parte (one side only represented) application for temporary injunctions requiring the man and woman and anyone with notice of the order to vacate, and not damage or trespass at, the property.
The order also prevents the defendants and others harassing the plaintiff company or writing, in any medium, a statement designed to provoke violence, abuse or threats against the company.
The judge said she had no hesitation in making the orders sought and expressed her concerns about what has been posted on social media about the matter.
She directed that gardaí accompany those serving the proceedings on the defendants and also voiced concerns about the woman’s teenage daughters being back in the property.
It appeared the children are being "used as pawns" and had been exposed to violence and the Child and Family Agency should be made aware of the proceedings, she directed.
The matter will return to court on Friday.