The High Court has granted an injunction restraining former billionaire businessman Seán Quinn from trespassing on lands owned by former Quinn Group companies.
Mr Quinn, who failed to attend court, had costs awarded against him and faces jail if he is found to be in breach of the injunction.
Lawyers for the companies, now part of the Mannok Goup, told the High Court that in 2019 Mr Quinn began "a spate of acts of trespass" onto a quarry and a cement plant and a road leading between the two.
They said there were health and safety issues along with a general "sense of unease" about Mr Quinn's presence on the lands given his history with the companies. The court heard Mr Quinn had been written to about six times about his presence on the lands.
Ms Justice Emily Egan said she was satisfied Mr Quinn was present on the land without permission and that his unauthorised access had continued despite a long history of engagement and the commencement of legal proceedings in 2021.
She said there had been six separate measures calling on him to cease and desist but his presence on the land was noted on CCTV as recently as 8 May last.
The judge said she was also satisfied there were concerns for health and safety, and granted the interlocutory injunction along with costs against Mr Quinn.
The judge noted that in a sworn statement to the court Mannok executive Liam McCaffrey had said there had a been a well publicised campaign of violence and intimidation against the companies' management team including assaults, arson attacks and the kidnapping of Kevin Lunney.
She said Mr Quinn had completely condemned the violence against the management team but had also said in an 2021 interview that he wanted them removed and would do everything in his power to "get those boys out".
Seán Quinn again failed to attend court today having sent an email last Friday saying he could not attend that day due to short notice. He was twice called in the High Court today but was not present.
The court was told solicitors from Northern Ireland had sent letters on his behalf but it did not move matters beyond the email Mr Quinn sent last week. In the email he said he was willing to give certain undertakings if he was given access, he required for business interests, to a particular roadway.
Senior counsel Andrew Fitzpatrick told the court it was not clear what Mr Quinn intended by his actions but management felt it amounted to defiance against the owners of the companies as he had previously stated publicly he would do everything in his power to get the current management out.
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Mr Fitzpatrick said there was also a clear health and safety risk as CCTV showed Mr Quinn driving close to a sheer edge of a quarry and close to large machinery and a crushing area. He outlined two examples to the court where CCTV showed Mr Quinn driving through the entrance to the quarry beside a crusher and next to a substantial sheer drop into the quarry cavity. The footage showed him continuing to drive along a track within the complex with sheer drops on the side.
He outlined a second incident in which Mr Quinn could be seen entering through the weigh bridge at the cement plant and driving through a crushing area, close to a storage area and beside industrial machinery and trucks. He said he could be seen leaving the property one hour and 45 minutes later.
Mr Fitzpatrick said all of the lands concerns in the application were in the ownership of Mannok companies and other lands referred to by Mr Quinn in his email were in private ownership and there was no public right of way.
While Mr Quinn may as he said have permission of local landowners to access certain parts of a roadway, he did not have permission from the Mannok companies and had so far offered no evidence to assert any entitlement to access the lands.
He dismissed a suggestion made by Mr Quinn that he needed to use the road to access another area and said that area is accessible from a public road. He said Mr Quinn had been written to six times and no undertaking had been given.
While in last week's email he had said he was willing to undertake not to enter company owned lands in future, he had then "walked back from that" position later in the email by attempting to impose certain conditions which the plaintiffs could not agree to.
The case first came to court last Wednesday when Mannok Cement Limited and Mannok Build Ltd said Mr Quinn was trespassing on a quarry owned by the companies. They applied for an injunction restraining Mr Quinn from further trespassing, on the grounds that he has no entitlement to be in Swanlinbar Quarry in Co Cavan.
The companies claim that on several occasions since late 2019 Mr Quinn has trespassed on their lands, most recently on 8 May last when he was seen driving, in his E class Mercedes Benz, at Swanlinbar Quarry.
'Active industrial sites'
The firms say the lands are active industrial sites, where heavy machinery is being operated, and Mr Quinn's alleged presence amounts to a significant health and safety risk. The firms say they are not entirely certain what is the purpose of Mr Quinn's alleged trespasses. They believe his actions amount to "a misguided form of aggression in the form of defiance" aimed towards the company's management.
Last Friday in a letter emailed to the court, Mr Quinn apologised and said that he was unable to attend due to the short notice he was given. However he offered to give an undertaking not to visit property owned by Mannok Quarries.
Mr Quinn said, however, that he requires access to a certain roadway that connects a quarry in Co Cavan owned by the plaintiffs to a cement factory. He said he was prepared to give an undertaking if he could access a road built by him 20 years ago that links Swanlinbar quarry to a cement factory.
The road was built on lands owned by parties including local farmers, who he said had leased it back to him. He said the road is used by Coillte, local turf cutters, farmers and by windfarm operators.
He said that he required access for business reasons, as he has an interest "in limestone land" on the Swanlinbar side of the mountain. He also required access to the road because he is "in discussions with investors" and local landowners regarding the building of a new windfarm on the mountain.
He said he did not accept certain claims made by Mannok, including that his presence amounted to a health and safety risk.
He said he knew the property like "the back of my hand". The sites he said were closed and there were not moving vehicles.
Mr Quinn added that the case could be resolved without "further troubling the court" adding that he had abided with a previous undertaking given to a Belfast court not to enter onto lands owned by the plaintiffs in Northern Ireland.
He was happy to provide an undertaking not to visit sites owned by Mannok as long as his access to the roadway was not inhibited.