Third man jailed over failure to give undertakings to stay away from farm

Colm Granahan declined court’s request to say if he would stay away from Co Roscommon property

Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

A third man has been jailed for contempt after he refused to give undertakings to stay away from a Co Roscommon farm, the scene of a controversial eviction in 2018.

Colm Granahan was committed to Mountjoy Prison on Friday afternoon by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds after he declined the court’s request to say if he would stay away from the property at Falsk, Strokestown.

Earlier this week, Michael Anthony McGann, who owns the property, and retired garda Kevin Taylor of Dublin Road, Longford were jailed over their failure to given undertakings to comply with orders to vacate the farm. Ms Justice Reynolds told Mr Granahan, if he was not prepared to give an undertaking, she had “no choice” other than commit him to Mountjoy until he is prepared to purge his contempt. She urged Mr Granahan, from Ballina in Co Mayo, to seek legal advice, and said all three cases would be reviewed next week.

As he was being led away by gardaí Mr Granahan asked the judge if “they have a TV above in Mountjoy” as he wished to watch the All Ireland football semi-final between Mayo and Tipperary on December 6th.

The judge said that was a question for the prison authorities and not a matter for the court.

KBC Bank had in 2018 obtained orders for vacant possession of the farm and an injunction requiring the McGann family and all others to vacate the property.

KBC claimed Mr Granahan and others had remained on the property and were in contempt of court.

That resulted in KBC bringing proceedings resulting in the three men’s arrest by gardaí and their production before the judge to answer their contempt.

On Friday, Rossa Fanning SC, with Keith Rooney for KBC, said, although Mr Granahan had been on the property and was clearly in contempt of court orders, it did not want to see him jailed.

An undertaking by him not to return to the property would satisfy the bank, counsel said.

Mr Granahan told the court he objected to being called “Mr Granahan” stating it was “an insult” and his name is “Colm Granahan”. He said the order on foot of which he and the others had been arrested and detained was technically flawed.

That argument was not accepted by the court.

Mr Granahan said he was “a peaceful” person who “knows the difference between right and wrong” and “law-abiding” who was “almost 61 years of age”.

He was also critical of the behaviour of banks and what they have done to the people who bailed them out.

Mr Granahan refused to answer when asked by the judge if he was prepared to give an undertaking to comply with the orders.

He said he was “remaining mute”.

When warned a refusal to give an undertaking could result in his incarceration, he replied “Ye can do what ye want.”

The judge said, in the circumstances, she had no option other than to commit Mr Granahan to Mountjoy Prison till he was prepared to purge his contempt.

The matter will be reviewed next week, the judge added.

The farm in Falsk has been the subject of proceedings involving siblings Michael Anthony, David, and Geraldine McGann, and KBC Bank. KBC obtained an order for possession of the farm several years ago arising out of a €431,000 debt on the property from a loan to its registered owner Michael Anthony McGann.

The McGanns were evicted in 2018 but the house was later the scene of an attack on security men employed to secure it.

The security men were forced off the property by a group of masked men and a number of vehicles were burnt.

The McGanns, who were not involved in that incident, returned to the house. That resulted in KBC seeking, and obtaining orders against them last March which were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.