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the long battle

Brian O'Donnell hands "The Bloody Keys" of Gorse Hill to Bank of Ireland boss

Meanwhile – receivers have now entered the Killiney mansion, where another media circus has been developing today.

Updated at 2.50pm

keys1 Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

SOLICITOR BRIAN O’Donnell has placed the keys to the Gorse Hill mansion in Killiney on the desk of Bank of Ireland CEO Richie Boucher at the bank’s AGM in Dublin.

He has said he will now take his case to Europe.

Earlier, O’Donnell and his wife Mary Patricia were photographed leaving the south Dublin house, after a last-ditch attempt to remain there was rejected by the country’s highest court yesterday.

In two separate journeys, they were driven from the grounds past a bank of reporters camped outside.

A large removal truck also left the mansion first thing this morning.

The handover

Jerry Beades of campaign group the New Land League – who has become a de-facto spokesperson for the O’Donnells – said earlier he expected bank management to face questions on the case at today’s AGM.

The latest installment in the ‘Battle for Gorse Hill’ then played out at two separate locations – as O’Donnell headed to UCD to confront Boucher, and Beades remained in Killiney, where the receivers eventually arrived this afternoon.

b5 Photocall Ireland Photocall Ireland

brian3 Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

There was a heavy media presence at UCD as O’Donnell showed up at the AGM.

“It is a departure… It’s something we are very disappointed about,” O’Donnell said of yesterday’s court ruling.

“We felt that we had very good grounds for appeal and we are now going to go to the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights].”

Accompanied by his son Blake, he then took up front-row seats in the hall. As Boucher arrived to begin the meeting, a keyring labelled ‘The Bloody Keys’ was lobbed onto his desk by the solicitor.

Not uttering a word in response, the bank boss continued to unpack notes from his bag.

Addressing the AGM later, Blake O’Donnell said he had heard “an awful lot of waffle” about the bank dealing with customers “and listening to proposals and working with them – I’ve never seen or heard of any of this in my own experience.”

keys7 Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland


Meanwhile, Beades placed a notice to Bank of Ireland’s solicitors on the gates of Gorse Hill asserting the property remained the property of Vico Ltd.

5 Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

“The keys and electronic fobs are the property of the company. Should you obtain the keys and electronic fobs of Gorse Hill you are to return them to the company’s office”, the notice, signed by Blake, said.

Should your Clients access the property they will be trespassers.

In a further twist, Beades told reporters the locks of the house had been changed by his group.

All that did little to delay the actions of the receivers, however.

Accompanied by gardaí, they arrived at the Vico Road property after midday - and after speaking briefly with Beades, gained access to the grounds.

Members of the New Land League later left the scene – while, back at UCD, O’Donnell told the media his family would be staying with friends and relatives temporarily.

6 Jerry Beades speaks to reporters at Gorse Hill. Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The long battle…

Bank of Ireland has been seeking the repossession of the house on Vico Road due to a debt alleged to be over €70 million – and it’s been the subject of a long-running legal battle.

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected leave for O’Donnell to appeal a trespass order against him. Two weeks ago, the Court of Appeal also rejected an application made by the father-of-four.

The High Court originally granted the trespass order in favour of Bank of Ireland almost six weeks ago – but a series of appeals meant the O’Donnells were allowed to stay in the property.

They had been given until 12pm today to leave the south Dublin mansion, as the Supreme Court decided whether or not it would hear an appeal.

The court said yesterday that there was “no basis” to hear the O’Donnells appeal and determined “no legal basis has been established for a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union”.

Read: End of the (Vico) road? The O’Donnells have until 12 noon tomorrow to leave Gorse Hill

Read: Brian O’Donnell spent three minutes today trying to find out how much money he still owes

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