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Men remanded in custody over failure to vacate controversial Roscommon farm

The judge urged both men to get legal advice.

File photo at the property in December 2018.
File photo at the property in December 2018.
Image: Facebook/Dundalk Democrat

TWO MEN HAVE been remanded in custody to a Dublin prison over their failure to comply with High Court orders to stay away from a Co Roscommon farm, which was the scene of a controversial eviction in 2018.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds heard that both Michael Anthony McGann, who owns the property, and retired Garda Kevin Taylor, of Dublin Road, Longford, were in contempt of orders requiring them to vacate the property at Falsk, Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

Both men were arrested – Taylor at his home in Longford and McGann at the property this morning by gardaí before being brought to the High Court.

Remanding them in custody to Mountjoy Prison the judge, who urged both men to get legal advice, said she will decide what to do with them tomorrow.

The lawyers returned to court at 4pm and sought a minor amendment to the court’s earlier order. The two men were then remanded in custody to Mountjoy, rather than Cloverhill Prison.

The matter has been going on for some time, requiring the use of “valuable garda resources”, the judge said.

The court wanted to bring some finality to things, and would deal with the contempt proceedings, via video link, tomorrow.

KBC Bank, which previously obtained an injunction granting it vacant possession of the farm, said the men had refused to comply with court orders directing them to leave the property.

Keith Rooney BL, for KBC, said McGann had, despite giving an undertaking to the court to vacate the property, had returned and made statements on social media that he would not leave the property.

Counsel said he was in “flagrant breach of court orders”.

Taylor, counsel said, had been present on the farm had been made aware of the court’s orders to vacate it. Taylor, counsel added, was part of “a co-ordinated attempt to frustrate the orders of the court”.

‘Kidnapped’

In reply McGann said he believed that the original injunction obtained by KBC last year was based on fraud which he said he could prove.

He said he had provided the court with that evidence and alleged there was “a cover-up”. He also told the judge he would not be taking legal advice on the matter, adding the undertaking had been given under duress.

Ms Justice Reynolds said the “ship had sailed” in regards to challenging the original order requiring the property to be vacated.

The judge said McGann had, after obtaining legal advice, given an undertaking last month to vacate the property.

That undertaking had been breached, which the Jjudge said was a very serious matter.

At the outset Taylor asked the court “which did it seek”, Kevin Taylor the “common man” or Kevin Taylor the “legal entity”.

He added he had been “kidnapped” and taken to court. He also asked if there was “any man in court” who could say he had done anything wrong.

He then attempted to leave the courtroom, but was prevented from doing so by gardaí.

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Ms Justice Reynolds, who criticised Taylor for not wearing a facemask in court, told him that “you are all the same person”.

The judge remanded him in prison overnight, and urged him to seek legal advice regarding the claims against him.

The farm at the centre of the long-running action has been the subject of proceedings involving siblings Michael Anthony, David and Geraldine McGann, and KBC Bank, which secured orders allowing it repossess the property.

In October the siblings were brought before the court, following their arrest, over their failure to leave the property. They were released after giving undertakings to leave, and remove their livestock from the farm.

However, KBC returned to court claiming it was unable to secure possession of the property due to the presence of several individuals on the farm.

KBC obtained an order for possession of the farm several years ago arising out of a €431,000 debt on the property from a loan to its registered owner Michael Anthony McGann.

The McGanns were evicted in 2018 but the house was later the scene of an attack on security men employed to secure it.

The security men were forced off the property by a group of masked men and a number of vehicles were burnt.

The McGanns, who were not involved in the incidents, returned to the house. That resulted in KBC seeking and obtaining an injunction against them last March.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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