‘Middle Ireland fights back’

A trust set up to help “middle Ireland fight back” and which is estimated to control €2bn in assets and have almost 2,000 members last night prevented gardaí and receivers from entering a farm in Co Kildare.

The farm — Kennycourt Stud in Brannockstown — has been at the centre of a legal battle between its former owner Eugene McDermott and financial institutions.

Last month, Bank of Scotland secured judgment orders for almost €7m in the Commercial Court arising from loans dating back to 2005.

In 2012, the former Anglo Irish Bank applied to the High Court to sell the 120-acre stud farm claiming Mr McDermott had failed to repay €814,000 owed to the bank.

Yesterday, Charlie Allen of the Rodolphus Allen private trust said the property had been given to the trust by Eugene McDermott and his wife to “protect it for future generations of his family”. He said Eugene McDermott was now a tenant of the trust.

Mr Allen said he had been made aware that a farmer had moved onto the land “under the false assumption that he had an entitlement to put cattle on it which he had not”, on instruction of one of the receivers.

He said the trust had the farmer removed yesterday because he was trespassing.

He said the receivers, gardaí, and armed gardaí later arrived at the property with, what he said “purported to be a High Court order”. Mr Allen said the receivers did not allow the people there to read it or hand over a copy of it.

Mr Allen said he did not know if the receivers were there on behalf of Bank of Scotland or Anglo Irish Bank. He said the order was incomplete.

“We told them they were trespassing on trust property. Very simple.”

“They had no jurisdiction to be here,” he said.

Mr Allen said the stand-off ended when the farmer, gardaí and receivers left.

“It’s job done,” he said. “The property is secured.”

Mr Allen said the Rodolphus Allen trust has just under 2,000 people in it. It is estimated there are just over €2bn in current assets in it.

Mr Allen says it has been set up to support people who found themselves in a similar situation to the McDermotts.

He said there is a high level of distress among people who have heard about the trust and have approached it.

“It is about thousands of people like the [McDermotts] similarly with greater or lesser property and portfolios. It’s people rather than money or property. It’s about middle Ireland fighting back.”

Gardaí confirmed that they had gone to the location at 4pm and that they left the scene yesterday evening and “all was quiet”.

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