Strokestown eviction dispute ruling expected on Friday

Judge criticises ‘pseudo-legal mumbo jumbo’ submitted by defendant in possession case

The house at the centre of an eviction dispute at Strokestown, Co Roscommon. File photograph: Peter Murtagh

The house at the centre of an eviction dispute at Strokestown, Co Roscommon. File photograph: Peter Murtagh

 

The High Court will rule on Friday on KBC Bank’s application for an injunction requiring the family at the centre of an eviction dispute in Co Roscommon to leave their home.

KBC wants an injunction requiring siblings Michael Anthony, David and Geraldine McGann to vacate their family home at Falsk, near Strokestown, pending the final outcome of the dispute.

The application was before Judge Senan Allen on Thursday. Having heard submissions from the parties, the judge said he would rule on Friday morning.

Seeking the injunction, Rossa Fanning SC, with Keith Rooney BL, for KBC, said the bank was seeking to be put back into possession of the property, something which it had enjoyed for a few days before its agents were forcibly removed from it.

Following what Mr Fanning described as “unorthodox” events, the bank’s agents were put out of the property and the McGanns had returned to their home. While there was no suggestion the McGanns were involved in the violent incidents, the court was told that they had benefited from what had happened.

The bank had not moved quickly and after allowing matters to calm down it was now seeking possession of the property, counsel said. The injunction application was opposed by the McGanns. Michael Anthony McGann was not in court or represented in the hearing. He had submitted written arguments which the judge described as “pseudo-legal mumbo jumbo” which he “could not make head nor tail of”.

Eanna Mulloy SC, with David Browne BL, for David and Geraldine McGann, also opposed the application and argued the balance of convenience did not favour the granting of the injunction.

Separate proceedings

The court heard that, in separate proceedings pending before the court, David McGann seeks to challenge the validity of the execution of the possession order obtained by KBC that was granted by the Roscommon County Registrar.

David McGann also seeks orders preventing any party from taking possession of or interfering with the property. The McGann family were evicted from the farm last December on foot of a repossession order KBC obtained in respect of the property several years ago.

The eviction gained national media attention after private security operatives working for the bank were forced from the property by a group of masked men.

Gardaí subsequently launched an investigation after the security personnel, several of whom subsequently required medical treatment, were attacked, several vehicles were burnt and a dog had to be put down due to injuries it sustained in the incidents.

The McGanns, who were not involved in those incidents, subsequently returned to the property, which was the subject of a loan agreement between KBC and the farm’s registered owner, Michael Anthony McGann.

Mr McGann fell into arrears on repayments and owed the bank some €431,000. Mr Fanning said KBC obtained a possession order in respect of the property in 2012, which was not appealed. The last repayment to KBC on the loan was made by the borrower in February 2014, it was claimed.