Judge requests details of events at O’Donnell home in Killiney

Land League blocks entrance to property as family attempts to halt repossession of house

Members of the Land League, a campaign group set up to oppose repossessions, have blocked the entrance to the O’Donnell family home at Gorse Hill, Killiney. Member John Martin talks to Tim O'Brien.


Solicitor Brian O’Donnell remains in his family’s luxury Killiney home after his adult children petitioned the High Court for a last minute reprieve of a repossession order granted to the Bank of Ireland, last month.

The High Court case was adjourned until 2pm on Tuesday. Mr Justice Brian McGovern said he wants affidavit evidence on Tuesday from receiver Tom Kavanagh outlining what has been happening at the property since noon on Monday when the receiver was due to take possession.

Mr O’Donnell is supported by members of the Land League, a campaign group set up to oppose repossessions. Members of the group have blocked the entrance to Gorse Hill on Vico Road, Killiney, the up-market residence on a spectacular site over looking Dublin Bay close to the house owned by singer Bono.

As the appeal got under way, John Martin of the Land League group, who used his car to block the entrance to the O’Donnell house, said he was in contact by phone with Mr O’Donnell inside the house.

He said Mr O’Donnell was not breaking any court orders by remaining in the house as he had not been named in the order to vacate the property. That order was made against the O’Donnell adult children who Mr Martin said were the beneficial owners of the house. The Land League said it had been invited by Mr O’Donnell to come and place vehicles in the gateway on the day the court order for repossession was due to take effect.

In the High Court, Rossa Fanning, for the receiver of the property, said it was “ironic” Mr O’Donnell was receiving support from a group calling itself the Land League when Mr O’Donnell was “ultimately a member of the landlord class”.

Land League spokesman Jerry Beades said Mr O’Donnell would contend he had been “beaten up” by the bank which had “treated him disgracefully”. Mr Beades said the O’Donnell family would argue that money was lent by Bank of Ireland Private Banking which was a separate legal entity, he said, to the arm of the bank which had sought the orders for repossession of the house.

The Land League made a number of allegations of unfair practise against the bank, the judiciary and the Revenue Commissioners and said Mr O’Donnell’s investment properties had been sold below market value.

“The O’Donnell bank cases demonstrates all that is wrong in the justice system and banking in Ireland,” said Mr Beades.

A bank-appointed receiver was last month given a court order to take possession of the €6 million Co Dublin house by February 1st, against the wishes of the adult children of Mr O’Donnell.

A number of reporters and gardaí were also at the scene. A number of people who were identified as members of the league, accompanied by a dog took up positions in the standing gardens of the lavish house as the morning progressed.

The league styles itself as the successor to the 19th century movement that prevented landlords from evicting tenants and says its mission is to combat repossessions.

Repossession of the house was ordered after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against repossession of the house last month.

Three of the four children - Blaise, Blake, Bruce and Alexandra O’Donnell - still live at Gorse Hill, Vico Road, Killiney, Dublin, which was acquired in 1997/98 for nearly €1.4 million as the O’Donnell family residence in what the court heard was part of a “very complex legal structure” involving the setting up of a discretionary trust.