All quiet on Gorse Hill as nothing continues to happen – slowly

The huddled media still await a resolution in the O’Donnell’s High Court case

It was a wet and miserable day on Killiney Hill – conditions which brought at least a few of the media contingent camped outside Gorse Hill to express the weak hope that there would be a resolution in Brian and Mary Patricia O’Donnell’s case.

As the deadline neared for the High Court to tell the couple if they were now actually trespassing in the mansion, a growing number of journalists and photographers just wished for it all to end.

The consensus appeared to be that if the High Court found against the couple and denied an appeal, the weekend was ruined, set to be spent getting soaked outside the now too familiar gates, while waiting for the bailiffs.

There was little or nothing new to record other than the presence of four large and full wheelie bins parked just on the driveway side of the gate. Speculation centred on whether this was an actual clear out, or just the normal weekly waste and recycling from a house the size of Gorse Hill.


A frisson of excitement was felt as the news came through that Mr Justice Brian McGovern had told the O'Donnells they were indeed trespassers and must leave the house once and for all. Photographers flexed their lenses as all prepared for a lunchtime arrival of Mr O'Donnell and an interview long promised by Jerry Beades from the New Land League.

The New Land League was not present at Gorse Hill on Thursday. Mr O’Donnell did not come home at lunchtime and the interview did not happen.

The second high point of the day came as the gates opened and a woman identified as a family friend drove out in an 11-D registered Mini.

This was followed by the news that Brian O'Donnell had secured a 4pm hearing for a High Court appeal. The weekend plans of journalists and photographers were reconsidered in a more benign light as deals were done to provide cover while trips were made to get coffee, or visit the facilities at Fitzpatricks Hotel.

Seasoned veterans began to note the differences between the condition of the Gorse Hill boundary now and its more pristine appearance as displayed on Google street view.

The Google view, taken on a blissfully bright summer’s morning with a panoramic view of Killiney bay visible through the open gates, contrasted sharply with the overgrown ivy running down the boundary walls, closed gates, and sheeting rain.

About 4.30pm more news came through that Brian O'Donnell's appeal would continue on Friday morning. With no possibility of images of the Bank of Ireland receiver coming to take possession of the property, there was only the possibility of seeing Mr O'Donnell arrive home. A number of photographers left.

Shortly afterwards while reporters huddled in the semi-circular, walled gateway against the rain, word came through that after the case Mr O’Donnell had gone to another building in the environs of the courts, a move which would delay his arrival.

Just when the rain and greyness of the day couldn’t get any more miserable, it got dark.

Tomorrow, as they say is another day.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist