High court reporters
An injunction preventing former billionaire Sean Quinn from trespassing at a quarry and cement plant in Co Cavan has been granted by the High Court.
Ms Justice Emily Egan made the order on Wednesday restraining the businessman from entering lands owned by two ex-Quinn group companies.
The action was brought by Mannok Cement Ltd and Mannok Build Ltd over Mr Quinn's spate of "incursions" on the land, where he had "no right" to be.
The firms cited health and safety fears over Mr Quinn driving near heavy industrial equipment and a sheer quarry drop. They also had a "sense of unease" over his presence following a media statement last year that he would do anything to remove Mannok's directors, the court heard.
Mr Quinn was not present or represented in court and the judge granted the interlocutory order.
The plaintiffs had secured permission last week to serve short notice of the injunction proceedings on him at his home at Greaghrahan, Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.
In a letter emailed to the court on Friday, Mr Quinn said he was unable to attend court at that stage due to short notice.
He offered an undertaking not to visit the Mannock property if he could use a road on the land that he said is needed to access a site for a prospective wind farm.
In court the plaintiffs' barrister Andrew Fitzpatrick SC said the application was to restrain Mr Quinn from trespassing at land including a quarry at Swanlinbar, a cement plant at Ballyconnell and parts of the roadway between the two.
Mr Fitzpatrick said Mr Quinn had lost effective control of the Quinn group in 2011, and it was taken over in 2014 and later rebranded Mannok.
The companies claimed Mr Quinn began a spate of acts of trespass on their property in 2019.
The most recent was on May 8th when Mr Quinn was seen driving in his Mercedes-Benz E-Class at locations including at Swanlinbar Quarry.
The quarry and plant and many parts of the roadway were owned by the plaintiff, with some of the road owned by Coillte and local farmers.
CCTV stills showed the claimed instances of trespass and Mr Quinn had accepted he had visited the sites on the dates referred to.
On occasions, he was seen driving beside a quarry crusher and a “substantially sheer drop” beside the quarry cavity, as well as industrial machinery, cement trucks and a construction area and storage compound.
One incursion lasted two hours.
Mr Fitzpatrick told Ms Justice Egan the lands were all fully private with no public right of way.
The companies had written to Mr Quinn six times and “there has been no undertaking given,” in response, Mr Fitzpatrick said.
In last Friday’s letter to the High Court, Mr Quinn said he did not accept the health and safety risk.
The court heard the plaintiffs had a “sense of unease” about Mr Quinn’s presence on their property.
The Mannok companies CEO Liam McCaffrey said in an affidavit it seemed like an act of “defiance” against the owners and Mr Quinn would do whatever he could to get the current management out.
The court heard Mannok management had been the subject of "a long and well publicised campaign of intimidation, violence and serious threats," including the abduction and serious assault of director Kevin Lunney.
Mr Quinn had "repeatedly condemned the violence against the management team", but had said in a newspaper interview in 2021 that he wanted the directors of Mannock removed and that he would do anything he could do in his power "to get those boys out," Mr McCaffrey's affidavit stated.
As owners of the land, the plaintiffs had the right to exclude anybody from it, Mr Fitzpatrick said.
Ms Justice Egan said there had been a long history of engagement, requesting that Mr Quinn cease and desist. He had been on the plaintiffs' lands numerous times without permission and had not denied this.
The e-mail he sent was no more than a statement that he required access for various business reasons, without asserting any right to access.
She was satisfied the plaintiff was entitled as of right to an injunction, and that there were health and safety concerns surrounding unauthorised access to an active quarry.
She also granted costs to the plaintiff.