Court upholds injunctions against farmer directing him to remove animal from disputed lands

Court upholds injunctions against farmer directing him to remove animal from disputed lands

Aodhan O'Faolain

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Aodhan O'Faolain

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Court of Appeal

Court upholds injunctions against farmer directing him to remove animal from disputed lands

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a farmer's appeal against injunctions restraining him from placing animals on his lands that are up for sale.

Eugene Costello appealed against the High Court's decision in 2017 to grant Carlisle Mortgages injunctions requiring him to remove animals he had put on lands which have been the subject of lengthy proceedings between him and the lender.

Mr Costello has on three separate occasions been jailed for being in contempt of High Court orders directing him to take animals off the lands.

Carlisle wants to sell Mr Costello's lands at Coolfree, Taughmaconnell, Ballinasloe, Co Roscommon because it claims Mr Costello has failed to repay monies he borrowed from it in 2004 when Mr Costello was advanced €440,000 by Carlisle.

The land was put up as security for the loan.

Carlisle, which obtained a possession order in respect of the lands from the High Court in 2006, claims some €1.4m remains outstanding on the loan. 

Mr Costello, who repaid some €91,000 to the lender, has raised issues about the loan and has claimed the transaction was fraudulent, which Carlisle denies.

Carlisle Mortgages have sought and obtained various orders, including the injunction in 2017, against Mr Costello over his alleged attempts to obstruct the sale of the land, which has been in his family for generations, by placing his livestock on it.  

In its ruling on Tuesday three-Judge court comprised of Mr Justice Michael Peart, Ms Justice Mary Irvine and Ms Justice Marie Whelan upheld the 2017 injunctions granted against Mr Costello of Taughmaconnell, Ballinasloe.

The appeal court also upheld the High Court's dismissal of the farmer's application to have Carlisle Mortgages proceedings against him struck out. 

The Judge said the orders made in 2017 by Mr Justice Michael Twomey were correct. 

In his appeal, Mr Costello had argued that Carlisle would have to have renewed the execution order of possession before being able to seek an injunction against him.

Mr Justice Peart said that argument was "simply wrong". The judge said that possession of the lands had been obtained in 2014 after Mr Costello gave an undertaking to the High Court when purging his contempt to surrender possession to Carlisle Mortgages.

Thereafter the Judge said that any adverse action taken by Mr Costello in regards the land constituted an act of trespass. 

When issues arose subsequent to 2014 Carlisle did not need to renew the execution order of possession as it was already in possession.

The Judge added that if Mr Costello had issues with the underlying loan or the rate of interest charged then the time to raise them was when Carlisle sought an order for possession in 2006.

The Judge said that Mr Costello did not appear before the court when the application was made, and neither were such issues raised by him. Neither did he appeal the order for possession. In all the circumstances the Judge said the court was dismissing Mr Costello's appeals.

Mr Costello has been jailed three times for being in contempt of various High Court orders to remove livestock from his lands. 

Earlier this month Mr Justice Michael Twomey jailed Mr Eugene Costello for three weeks due to his failure to comply with the 2017 injunction.

He was also jailed for a week in January of this year arising out his failure to comply with the 2017 injunction.

In 2014 Mr Costello was jailed after a High Court judge found he had breached undertakings previously given to remove his livestock. He was released some days later after he purged his contempt.