Ballinamore defendants seek time to respond to allegations made in High Court

Protests outside a Co Leitrim apartment complex being fitted out to accommodate 25 families seeking asylum have ended, the High Court heard today.

Last Friday Remcoll 2 Ltd, the owners of the Rock Centre building in Ballinamore, obtained an interim injunction preventing the protesters from interfering with the completion of the work.

The court heard that since late last month a 24-hour picket was maintained outside the centre and workers and security personnel had been intimidated and threatened.  There had been an attempt to set fire to a Tesco supermarket which is part of the complex but fortunately, the petrol strewn around the entrance did not catch with the main building, the court was told.

A two-metre wire fence was erected around the building to prevent personnel gaining access and obstructions were placed  on doors, including emergency doors, the court was told.

Six named people were injuncted from besetting, trespassing and impeding access.  They were local Fine Gael councillor Ita Reynolds-Flynn, auctioneer Gordon Hughes, pharmacist Brian Cribbin and local businessman Adrian Smith.

Along with Fred Walsh, who is allegedly involved in protests against Quinn Industrial Holdings, and Desmond Wisley, who allegedly provided protesters with food and operates drones around the building, they were described in court papers are some of the leaders of the protest.

The injunction, which was posted at the building, also applied to all others with notice of it.

The case, which came before the court on Friday on a one-side only represented basis, returned before Mr Justice Max Barrett on Wednesday when he was told by Bernard Dunleavy SC, for Remcoll 2, there had been compliance with the court order.

The fence had been removed, barrels used for fires and tents were gone and the protesters were also gone, counsel said.

Workers are able to gain access and the completion works will be done in accordance with the expected timeline, he said.

Mr Dunleavy said he will be seeking to have the injunction continued pending full hearing of the case but asked that only the interim order stay in place until a short adjournment requested by the defence.

Maura McNally SC, for the six named defendants, said her side needed time to respond as her clients only received the papers on Sunday.

Her clients wanted the opportunity to address the substance of the case as they believed they were “somewhat blackened” by the allegations.  They were upstanding members of the community, including a local representative, a member of a State board, a chemist and an auctioneer, she said.

Such allegations, if left unanswered, could have serious ramifications in the longterm for them in that they are the holders of licences, she said.

Each of them “have taken umbrage” at the allegations and want to address them in their own affidavits rather than in a collective affidavit, counsel said.   In those circumstances, she was looking for a two-week adjournment to put in replies.

Mr Justice Barrett adjourned the matter to December 6 and said the interim order will remain in force until then.