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Tycoon given mansion exit deadline

Published 28/04/2015

Brian O'Donnell has been told he must vacate his former mansion
Brian O'Donnell has been told he must vacate his former mansion

A lawyer-turned-property speculator has until midday tomorrow to leave his former seaside mansion after losing a last-ditch attempt to challenge his eviction before Ireland's highest court.

Bankrupt Brian O'Donnell and his psychiatrist wife Mary Patricia had asked the Supreme Court to allow them to fight a Court of Appeal decision two weeks ago upholding trespass orders on the house known as Gorse Hill, at Killiney, overlooking Dublin Bay.

But in a 10-page determination, the three-judge Supreme Court refused the pair leave to make the challenge.

It was the latest attempt by the O'Donnells to be allowed to stay on at the luxury pile, after the High Court ruled they were trespassing on the property, which is owned through a complex legal deal by an Isle of Man company, Vico Ltd.

They are locked in a lengthy legal battle with Bank of Ireland, which is owed around 71.5 million euros in disputed debts secured against the house.

It has become known in Ireland as the Battle of Gorse Hill.

The O'Donnells' children were forced to leave earlier this year and the Court of Appeal said the couple flew back from their permanent home at East Haxted, Edenbridge in Kent, England, to occupy the house in February.

The court rejected five challenges to High Court repossession and trespass orders handed down on March 12 and ordered the pair to leave the house, where neighbours include Bono and Enya, by noon on April 29.

A former commercial lawyer, Mr O'Donnell became a major player in the international property market, with an empire in the City of London, Dublin, Stockholm and Washington believed to be worth 1.1 billion euros at one stage.

In previous hearings, he said he had paid over 700 million euros back to banks worldwide.

The O'Donnells had asked the Supreme Court to allow it to challenge the earlier Court of Appeal ruling on the basis there were matters of public importance and the interests of justice at stake.

But the court said it considered all the issues and found there is no basis for an appeal.

"In all the circumstances, the court refuses the application for leave to appeal," it concluded.

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