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Protected witness Jimmy Mansfield Jnr hired representatives of the New IRA and the INLA, court told

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Jim Mansfield Jnr

Jim Mansfield Jnr

Jim Mansfield Jnr

Businessman Jimmy Mansfield Jnr hired representatives of the New IRA and the INLA to attend meetings with him around debts he owed at the time his father was dying, a court has heard.

Today, the the Special Criminal Court was told, at the time in 2014, the son of former millionaire hotelier Jim Mansfield Snr was under threat from the Wall traveller group and another outfit described as ‘the Kavanaghs'.

Sensational evidence about alleged dodgy business dealings done after the collapse of the Mansfield empire which went into receivership in 2011 was heard as the State’s protected witness Martin Byrne took the stand.

Byrne worked as head of security at the City West Hotel and stayed on in his role after receiver Martin Ferris took over the property along with other Mansfield assets.

The state will claim that Jimmy Mansfield Jnr delivered Byrne to terror thugs Dessie O’Hare, Declan ‘Whacker’ Duffy and others who assaulted him.

Mansfield Jnr denies charges of false imprisonment.

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Jim Mansfield Jnr

Jim Mansfield Jnr

Jim Mansfield Jnr

In a series of extraordinary statements made under oath in the three judge court it was heard that:

- Jim Mansfield Senior and Junior created a complex scheme to ‘buy back’ key parts of their empire from receiver Martin Ferris who was appointed by Bank of Scotland after the tycoon’s ran up debts of almost euro 200 million.

- The father and son plotted to take back three key parts of the family empire including Finnstown House Hotel, townhouses at Saggart Lodge Court and a parcel of land known as Paddy Reilly’s Field.

- Paddy Reilly’s field, a prime development site, had once been valued at €30 million but was sold for just €800,000 to a builder who the court heard was brought in by a Dundalk businessman who acted as a front from the Mansfields.

- It was claimed that according to the agreement, builder, Gerry McGreevy, could keep the land if Mansfield Jnr didn’t come up with €400,000 on a set date.

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In evidence Byrne told the court that Mansfield Jnr couldn’t come up with the money but continued to insist on getting back his assets.

It was at that point that the negotiations became more threatening and Mansfield Jnr brought members of the New IRA and INLA with him to force the deal through.

Byrne who is on the Witness Protection Programme detailed his history with the Mansfield family and said he had started working for Jim Mansfield Snr around 2005.

“There was a problem with the hotel in relation to trouble in bars and late night drinking and the Garda had been called out.

"I met with Superintendent Quirke in Clondalkin in relation to issues that were happening and he advised me in my role as in house security directly for the hotel. I was a PAYE worker.

"I remained as a PAYE worker until the Mansfield group went into receivership. Martin Ferris (receiver) came in and took over the hotel around 2010 or 2011,” he told the court.

Members of the public were asked to leave the Special Criminal Court for the duration of Mr Byrne’s evidence which was set to continue into the afternoon.

He described how the Mansfield family dealt with and reacted to the collapse of their empire and the arrival of the receiver: “Originally it was on basis that receivership was illegal and they shouldn’t have come in when they did.

"Then a third party was brought in on behalf of the family as Ferris didn’t realistically want to deal with Mansfield Snr directly. The third party was Kevin McGeogh – an old time friend of Jim senior,” he said.

Byrne explained how the Mansfields had retained control of a three pieces of land around the family home, Tasaggart House.

They dubbed them ‘ransom strips’, he claimed, as they were key access routes to CityWest hotel and other properties which couldn’t be sold without them.

“One was the main entrance to the hotel. Another was on the left hand corner of the convention centre and the other was attached to part of the golf course.

"I was told that without those they couldn’t turn the hotel over or sell it. Jimmy Jnr told me it would be like buying a house and not owning your front door.

"They believed that by having those at the table they had room to negotiate about getting back some of the properties. They would sign them over on agreement they got back certain properties.”

He said the three properties in question were townhouses at 30 town houses and 100 apartments at Saggart Court Lodge, Finnstown House Hotel and Paddy Reilly’s Field – the site that would cause the most trouble.

Byrne described how Newry builder Gerard McGreevy was brought in as the financial backer for McGeogh to take back ownership of the properties and to hold them for the Mansfields until they could buy them back at agreed prices.

However the negotiations went into turmoil, it is claimed, due to a series of unpaid debts by Mansfield Jnr and the introduction of terror groups to represent him.

The trial continues.

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