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Staying put Men occupying Roscommon farm at centre of controversial eviction say they won't leave

'There is no-one that will live a day in that house or no-one that will eat a blade of grass belonging to the McGanns'

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Colm Granahan (right), with Joe Doocey, speaks to our man O’Connell outside the farm property

Colm Granahan (right), with Joe Doocey, speaks to our man O’Connell outside the farm property

Colm Granahan (right), with Joe Doocey, speaks to our man O’Connell outside the farm property

ONE of three men, whose arrest was ordered by the High Court for his continued occupation at the McGann farm in Co. Roscommon, yesterday warned: "The plan, full stop, is they (KBC) are not taking possession of this property - end of story."

Speaking inside the gates of the farm, which was the scene of one of the country's most-high profile evictions in 2018, Colm Granahan said the occupants of the house believe they have right on their side and will not leave.

"They can do whatever they like but there is no-one that will live a day in that house or no-one that will eat a blade of grass belonging to the McGanns," he said.

Stressing this was not meant, nor should it be taken to represent a threat, he continued: "No-one will touch the property, that's what it is.

"Because of the background that's the reality.

"It's worthless to them (KBC) - it's cost probably four or five time the value of the property already."

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Colm Granahan (right) and Joe Doocey (left)  outside the property.

Colm Granahan (right) and Joe Doocey (left) outside the property.

Colm Granahan (right) and Joe Doocey (left) outside the property.

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Burnout vehicles at the Co. Roscommon farm

Burnout vehicles at the Co. Roscommon farm

Burnout vehicles at the Co. Roscommon farm

On Friday Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds ordered the arrest of any person found in occupation of the farm at Falsk, Strokestown, which was the scene of one of the country's most controversial evictions in 2018.

Specific orders were made by Ms Justice Reynolds against three named individuals, and any other person found to be in occupation of the property.

She said she was satisfied to order the arrest of Michael Anthony McGann, who owns the property, former garda Kevin Taylor of Dublin Road, Longford and Colm Granahan from Ballina, Co. Mayo.

The court heard evidence from KBC, which previously obtained an injunction granting it vacant possession of the farm, that the three men remain on the property.

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Speaking with the Sunday World from the gates of the farmhouse yesterday morning, Mr Granahan confirmed that he and Mr McGann are resident at the property.

Mr Granahan, who confirmed he is a member of the anti-corruption taskforce, told the Sunday World that he and his associates would continue to argue the entire eviction and repossession process targeting the farm was unlawful.

One issue raised by Mr Granahan was the fact a firm employed by KBC to secure possession of the property in 2018 did not have a Private Security Authority (PSA) licence to operate in this jurisdiction at the time.

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Burnt-out vehicles at the farm in Strokestown

Burnt-out vehicles at the farm in Strokestown

Burnt-out vehicles at the farm in Strokestown

The eviction was recorded by bystanders and proved controversial when the footage emerged, with unidentified men with Northern Irish accents using force on those present.

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The forceful eviction in 2018

The forceful eviction in 2018

The forceful eviction in 2018

After the eviction was completed, security guards, working for GS Agencies Limited, effectively moved into the house to retain a 24-7 security presence there.

However, three days after the eviction, in the early hours of the morning, a large group of people arrived at the house and burned out their vehicles forcing the company's personnel to flee.

The McGanns, who were not involved in the incidents, returned to the house after.

Earlier this month GS Agencies Limited of Portadown, Craigavon, Co. Armagh, was found guilty of six breaches of the Private Security Services Act, which governs the private security sector and sets out the criteria that companies providing security services in the Republic must meet.

Judge Deirdre Gearty at Castlerea District Court fined the company €500 for each of the six breaches and also awarded costs of €7,500 against it.

The prosecution was taken by the PSA after an investigation into the "provision of an unlicensed security guard service" at the McGann house in Falsk almost two years ago.

The prosecution and conviction related to security personnel taking up position at the house after the eviction and did not relate to the eviction itself.

"That's part of our argument," said Mr Granahan. "Men were brought in to drag the McGanns out of the house and we lodged criminal complaints about them and the investigation on that is closed and no further action is being taken."

Mr Granahan also questioned the reason why two separate repossession orders were sought by KBC and said the group had sought the disclosure of the execution order signed by the county sheriff.

Mr Granahan said the group had sent documentation into the court, which they claim shows evidence relevant to the original eviction proceedings - relating to sworn affidavits filed to the court.

He also said large sums had been added to the original loan of €431,000 to Michael McGann which sparked the repossession.

"The vehicles that burned out here...he has got a bill for €150,000," he said.

Asked what will happen if the gardaí arrive to enforce the warrants, Mr Granahan said: "The plan, full stop, here is they are not taking possession of this property.

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The house where the eviction took place

The house where the eviction took place

The house where the eviction took place

"That court order is in existence," he alleged, "because of fraud before the court. "We have the proof of that. They (the gardaí) have to do what they have to do."

When it was pointed out such arrests would result in vacant possession of the property, Mr Granahan responded: "They can do whatever they like but there is no-one that will live a day in that house or no-one that will eat a blade of grass belonging to the McGanns.

"It's not a threat but no-one will touch the property…that's what it is. Because of the background that's the reality.

"It's worthless to them and it's cost probably four or five times the value of the property already."

At Friday's hearing in the High Court, Judge Reynolds said it was clear that individuals were engaged in "a consorted effort to undermine an order of the High Court".

The three individuals, along with any other person found in occupation, are to be brought before the court by gardaí to answer their alleged contempt, the Judge directed.

The Judge said she was making the orders "with regret" but the court had to "bring some finality" to the long-running action.

KBC Bank 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.

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