Belfast Telegraph

Brothers to stop 'harassing' tycoon Kevin Lagan over land dispute

By Alan Erwin

Two brothers gave High Court pledges over an alleged campaign of harassment against property tycoon Kevin Lagan linked to a dispute over land in Belfast.

Robert and Dominic McKeating appeared as defendants in a legal action by Mr Lagan over placards and signs being displayed at locations in the city.

Counsel for the businessman claimed the "final straw" was when a man turned up outside the home of his client's 87-year-old mother.

The case is linked to the sale of land at Nelson Street once owned by the McKeating brothers' father.

A judge was told it later passed into the control of a separate joint-venture company which went into liquidation.

Barrister David Dunlop argued that neither Robert nor Dominic McKeating have any interest in the land.

He said the brothers have wrongly and, "in the most fantastical way" accused Mr Lagan and his firm of taking the land by deception or some other improper conduct.

"This is entirely disputed and without any foundation whatsoever," Mr Dunlop insisted.

"Mr Lagan has absolutely no control over the lands, he doesn't own them, they are held by a joint venture company."

Proceedings had been issued in a bid to secure an injunction against the brothers.

Robert McKeating told the court he was the only one of the pair involved in the alleged demonstrations.

At one stage he asked if he could continue with a peaceful protest.

He also claimed: "There is £100,000 potentially could be coming off that land, just from car parking, and our family haven't been getting that for nine years."

Mr Justice Weir acknowledged the defendant had strong feelings.

But instead of imposing an injunction he asked the brothers: "Are each of you prepared to undertake to me that you will discontinue this?"

Consent was given, although Dominic McKeating stressed he had no involvement in any previous incident.

Mr Lagan is the chairman and owner of Lagan Group Limited, a construction materials business in Ireland, the UK and north west Europe.

He also owns Lagan Homes, which builds houses in Northern Ireland and the south east of England and also owns Welsh Slate.

He was sent a bullet in the post last year after merger talks with Quinn Building Products, part of the former empire of Sean Quinn, and received a death threat this year over plans to buy another part of the Quinn business.

Mr Lagan used to be in business with his brother Michael until a fall-out around 10 years ago. Michael Lagan is chairman of the separate Lagan Construction Group.

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