massive stand-off | 

Farm at the centre of a controversial eviction three years ago finally sold

Burnt-out vehicles at the repossessed home of Michael Anthony McGann near Strokestown, Co Roscommon, three years ago. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Burnt-out vehicles at the repossessed home of Michael Anthony McGann near Strokestown, Co Roscommon, three years ago. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Shane Phelan

A farm at the centre of a controversial eviction three years ago has been sold, the Irish Independent has learned.

The property at Falsk, near Strokestown, Co Roscommon, which was repossessed by KBC Bank, was bought from a receiver in recent weeks following a legal battle.

Farmer Michael Anthony McGann, who owned the farm, and his siblings David and Geraldine were removed from the property in December 2018 on foot of a possession order.

A video of distressing scenes at the eviction went viral. Four days after the eviction, a number of men with baseball bats descended on the property, attacking security guards and burning vehicles.

The family later returned to the property, although there is no suggestion they had any involvement in the attack.

The events sparked anger over forced evictions, with hundreds marching at a rally in support of the McGanns.

Mr McGann and two other men would subsequently be jailed for contempt of court for frustrating efforts by KBC to regain control of the property.

The 33-acre farm, including a farmhouse and outbuildings, went on sale via BRG Gibson Auctions in September.

Auctioneer Fitz Rearden confirmed to the Irish Independent it had been sold. However, he said he was not in a position to say who bought it or what the purchase price was.

Mr McGann (54) has a long history of financial difficulties. KBC initiated possession proceedings in relation to his farm in 2009 and obtained a possession order in 2018 arising from a debt of €431,000.

After the family returned to the farm in the aftermath of the attack, the matter was left to settle for a period.

However, in October last year the siblings were arrested and taken to the High Court for violating an injunction requiring them to vacate the property.

They were released after giving undertakings to leave and remove their livestock from the farm.

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

Mr McGann; retired garda Kevin Taylor, of Dublin Road, Longford; and anti-eviction campaigner Colm Granahan, of Ballina, Co Mayo, were jailed last December for refusing to stay away from the property.

Although Mr Granahan was quickly released after purging his contempt, Mr McGann and Mr Taylor spent five months in custody before finally agreeing to give undertakings to the court.


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