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18/09/2021

Men to remain in Mountjoy until they agree to stay away from controversial Roscommon farm

Men to remain in Mountjoy until they agree to stay away from controversial Roscommon farm

The case was heard at the High Court in Dublin

The High Court has ruled that three men jailed for contempt must remain in Mountjoy Prison until they agree to comply with orders to stay away from a Co Roscommon farm.

The three men Michael Anthony McGann, Kevin Taylor and Colm Granahan were jailed by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds last week after they refused to give undertakings to comply with orders to stay away from a farm in Falsk, Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

The farm, owned by Mr McGann, was the scene of a controversial eviction in 2018. KBC bank obtained a repossession order against the property.

KBC was unable to secure the property and returned to court where last year it obtained orders granting it vacant possession of the property.

KBC then brought contempt proceedings against the three men over their refusal to comply with that order. 

In a written judgement delivered on Wednesday Ms Justice Reynolds said that she was "making an order for the indefinite detention of the three men, until such time that they purge their contempt.

The Judge said that it was "manifestly clear" that the three men's actions amount to a "flagrant, deliberate and contrived breach of a court order" made last year preventing anyone from trespassing on the farm or impeding KBC from taking possession of the property.

The Judge said that evidence was given to the court that all three were present on the property despite that they were not entitled to be there.

The Judge also noted that there was "an ongoing social media campaign," in respect of the property, "orchestrated solely for the purposes of undermining the authority of the court."

That campaign also called into question the courts authority, and invited people to attend at the farm in order to frustrate the High Court order.

She said it was clear that the court "has the power of sending to prison, indefinitely, a person who wilfully refuses to comply with an order of the court."

The court she said "is mindful of its obligation to ensure that orders of the court are complied with. It is an essential aspect of the rule of law."

The judge added that it was "at all times open" to the three to purge their contempt and undertake not to trespass upon. enter, attend at or obstruct KBC bank from taking possession of the property.

All three had been given opportunities by the court to purge their contempt, but had "demonstrated an unwillingness to do so."

Mr Granahan from Ballina, Co Mayo, Mr Taylor a retired Garda from Longford and Mr McGann of Falsk, Strokestown were all brought before the court late last month following their arrest by Gardai.

They remain in Mountjoy Prison.

The judge said that the men had raised issues concerning the validity of the order made last year that requires them to stay away from the farm.

That order ,the judge said, had never been appealed, and the court would not allow issues that have already been determined to be relitigated.

The matter will return before the court in the New Year when the Judge said she would review matters.

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