Interactive timeline: Battle for Gorse Hill

The O’Donnells conducted a dogged legal battle in an attempt to stave of bankruptcy and loss of Killiney house

Solicitor Brian O’Donnell and his wife Dr Mary Pat O’Donnell began investing in property in about 2000, assembling a massive portfolio of commercial and office buildings in cities from London to Washington, to Stockholm, to Dublin. The property empire was once valued at more that €1bn. But they were exposed: the couple and their companies had built up debts of €900 million.

When the global recession hit and property values fell sharply, the O’Donnells were left with huge debts secured on the properties. In January 2011 Bank of Ireland took a High Court action against the couple, seeking repayment of €69.5 million in property-related loans. It secured a judgment of €71.5 million against the couple in December 2011.

This was the start of a dogged legal battle that saw the O’Donnells in and out of the highest courts in London and Dublin with wave after wave of hearings, appeals and reprieves. Until today.