O’Donnell children: ‘we didn’t have a gilded upbringing’

Blaise and Blake O’Donnell say Killiney home battle brings repossessions issue ‘front and centre’

The adult children of the Brian and Mary O’Donnell, whose home in Gorse Hill in Killiney is at the centre of a legal battle, have said the impression that they had a “gilded life” was untrue.

The said their case has “done a lot of good” as it has brought the wider issue of repossessions “front and centre”.

Blaise and Blake O'Donnell, two of the four children of Mr and Mrs O'Donnell whose home on Vico Road in Killiney was the site of a blockade by the New Land League last week, were speaking on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk on Tuesday.

“This whole idea of the gilded life... it doesn’t sit with us well because it really isn’t true,” Ms O’Donnell said.


She said, while the “house is lovely and we’re never going to try and deny that fact”, she and her three siblings had had a “very, very normal” upbringing and not one of “airs and graces and privilege”.

“Our parents were never interested in having everything handed to us. They wanted us to have our own careers and do our own thing,” she added.

Ms O’Donnell said there was a wider problem with repossessions: “This is obviously happening all over the country with repossession of family homes. I’d like to make it clear that we’re not focusing everything in on ourselves...this is a much, much wider issue,” she said.

“It’s done a lot of good, what’s happened in the past week, because repossessions are front and centre and nothing has really been done about it for years,” Blake O’Donnell added.

“The legal processes are exactly the same, they apply to us like they apply to anyone else. The only difference is that it’s a big house and it’s getting media attention, which is a good thing I think because it lets people know what’s coming down the tracks for them, and it is coming.”

Blake O’Donnell said he had seen from a review of correspondence between his father and the bank as far back as 2008 that “he was trying to make accommodations with (the Bank of Ireland), trying to get some negotiation with them but they weren’t interested in negotiating”.

New Land League spokesman Jerry Beades, who last week described the house at the centre of the dispute as “bog- standard”, said he did not regret using the term.

“The house is, I would say, not well designed, requires a lot of money to be spent on it,” he said, pointing to a set of doors on which duct tape and silicon had been used to stop draughts.