Granard, a Sleepy Village, with many Dirty Secrets?

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Farmer accused of intimidation campaign is jailed for contempt of court

24th November 2021

One of two brothers alleged to be involved in a campaign of intimidation aimed at halting land sales by a Revenue-appointed receiver has been jailed for a month for contempt of court.

It is the third time farmer Seamus Kane (51) has been imprisoned by the High Court for defying court orders and undertakings not to interfere with the work of receiver Myles Kirby.

A contempt application against his brother, car dealer John Alex Kane (47), had also been due to be heard yesterday. However, he did not show up in court, claiming to be unwell and waiting on a test for Covid-19.

That application is expected to go ahead today.

Mr Kirby, of Kirby Healy Chartered Accountants, has been attempting to sell off 14 properties which belonged to John Alex Kane to help satisfy a €4.9m judgment the Revenue obtained against him in 2009 for non-payment of tax on car sales.

But the receiver claims his work has been beset by interference from the Kane brothers, with horses and livestock being placed on lands, prospective buyers being intimidated, and criminal damage to some of the properties. The brothers have denied involvement in any such campaign.

While most of the properties have now been sold, fears remain that other sales could be interfered with.

Gary McCarthy SC, for Mr Kirby, told Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan that Seamus Kane had acted “both in concert and at the instigation of his brother” during the campaign.

The incident leading to Seamus Kane’s jailing yesterday occurred in May last year when three people broke into one of the receivership properties in Granard, Co Longford.

They claimed they were directed to kick in the door by Seamus Kane.

Under cross examination, he said he had made arrangements for locks to be changed at another property and there appeared to have been some confusion in his instructions and the people had gone to the wrong house.

Mr McCarthy, appearing with John Donnelly SC and solicitor Michael Commons of Ivor Fitzpatrick and Co, accused him of not telling the truth. Seamus Kane insisted he had not broken any court orders.

Ms Justice O’Regan noted that Seamus Kane had twice been jailed after giving untruthful sworn evidence.

“I believe history has repeated itself today and there is untruthful sworn evidence before me,” she said.

The judge said she was satisfied the situation had been “orchestrated by Mr Kane”. She jailed him for a month.

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