27 Jan 2022

Businessman in Mountjoy Prison 'will not budge' on property dispute

Businessman in Mountjoy Prison 'will not budge' on property dispute

A businessman has told the High Court that he "will not budge" and is prepared to remain in Mountjoy Prison, where he is being held over his failure to comply with an order to stay away from two properties in County Monaghan.

Fergal Deery has now spent almost nine weeks, including the Christmas and New Year's holidays, behind bars after the High Court found him in contempt of orders made in March 2020 in relation to what has been a long running dispute.

Following his arrest by gardaí, Mr Deery was committed to Mountjoy Prison in early December by Mr Justice Senan Allen, who held that the businessman was in breach of court order made the previous March.

The court then ordered that Mr Deery, who had breached orders originally made by the High Court in 2015, not to trespass or interfere with two premises located in Monaghan Town, which had previously been controlled by Mr Deery's family.

The application seeking Mr Deery's attachment and committal to prison was made by Wardglade Limited which acquired the properties, which operated as a bar and a nightclub, from a receiver in 2015. 

Mr Deery, who denies breaching the order, is unhappy over the sale, which he alleged was fraudulent and claims he was illegally evicted from the property in 2013.

The case was reviewed by the High Court on Tuesday.

Mr Deery told Ms Justice Allen via a video link from the prison what he has stated in previous hearings of the matter, that he was not prepared to purge his contempt.

In reply to the judge, Mr Deery said that he was not prepared to budge on the matter, and would not be purging his contempt.

The judge said that Mr Deery could "make a call, at any time," and come before the court and secure his freedom by agreeing to comply with the orders at any time.  

However, until he was prepared to do this, Mr Deery has to remain in prison.

In 2015, Wardglade secured orders against Mr Deery, of Drumhillock, Monaghan, restraining him from trespassing on the properties.

Mr Deery was committed to prison in July 2018 for two weeks after he was found in contempt of the 2015 orders.

He was released after he purged his contempt and gave undertakings to stay away from the premises, and to stop making comments on social media or in public about Wardglade director Ciaran Marron and Seamus and Frank McEnaney.

Last year, Wardglade brought fresh proceedings claiming that there had been further breaches of the orders. It claimed Mr Deery and related parties had entered the properties without Wardglade's consent on several occasions in 2019.

It also claimed that Mr Deery commenced a campaign of intimidation against persons associated with Wardglade, and had made threats against Mr Marron's family, business associates and his solicitor on social media.   

When the case was called on last March, Mr Deery did not attend court, citing transport difficulties. The judge adjourned the hearing for 24 hours to allow Mr Deery get to court.

However, Mr Deery did not attend at the subsequent hearing.

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