HomeBussinessWidow claims developer Greg Kavanagh is behind intimidation campaign

Widow claims developer Greg Kavanagh is behind intimidation campaign

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A widow claims developer Greg Kavanagh is behind a campaign of bullying and intimidation against her including threatening to rip down the entrance gates to her home, a protected structure in Ashford, Co Wicklow.

Oonagh Stokes says Mr Kavanagh, whose firm recently got the go ahead to build 98 homes next to her home, Inchanappa House, has sent in workers who she says pulled down a fence dividing her property from land owned by Mr Kavanagh’s Beakonford Ltd development company.

She also says the workers ripped apart electrical cables feeding lights along the driveway to her home and completely disrupted rights of way she enjoys beside her home.

As a result of being told by one of the workers that Mr Kavanagh had instructed him to rip down the entrance gates “whether I liked it or not”, Ms Stokes said she arranged for a tractor to be parked on land she owns in front of the gates. She says she owns the gates but Mr Kavanagh claims his company does.

Mr Kavanagh had also sent three lengthy text messages to her at the end of April telling her, among other things, that “when we get to court and the judge gets to see just how despicable you have been, your credibility will be the same as the Bourke (sic)family from Castlebar”.

Mr Kavanagh and Beakonford last November brought Commercial Court proceedings against Ms Stokes and a neighbour, Barbara Wilding, who had lodged an appeal against the housing development.

He claimed the appeal had been brought in order to extract payment of €6 million from Beakonford with Ms Wilding acting as an agent or “alter ego” for Ms Stokes.

The claims were denied and now Ms Stokes has brought proceedings against Mr Kavanagh and Beakonford seeking orders including restraining trespass on or interference with her property.

In an affidavit, she said Mr Kavanagh seemed “intent on escalating the situation, which is getting worse and more intolerable by the day”.

She said: “I believe he is acting in a way which can reasonably be described as threatening and unhinged.”

While he had undertaken to contact her only through his solicitors from now on, she is seeking an injunction preventing interference with her property.

She said Mr Kavanagh acquired the land beside her home from the National Asset Management Agency for €4 million after it was transferred to the State agency by her late husband, Brian, who was hit by the global economic crash.

Brian Stokes had also planned to build houses on the land and certain easements and rights over the land remained with him, and later with her, as part of the transfer.

Brian Stokes died in May 2021 and in November that year Beakonford lodged the first of what was to be three planning applications to build 98 residential units on the land, she said.

She was aware of the existence of the applications but only in broad terms as she was grieving after the death of her husband.

She was also dealing with a dispute, which was ultimately resolved, involving her late husband’s children from a previous marriage as well as the fact that a close family member was suffering very serious health issues at the time.

She said her first contact with Mr Kavanagh was when he arrived at her house unannounced sometime in July-August 2022.

“Having barely said hello or exchanged any other pleasantries, GK [Greg Kavanagh] asked me whether I would sell my house and surrounding lands to him”.

She said she was taken aback and told him her husband had recently passed away and she needed time to think and take advice.

While she was not actively looking to sell, Beakonford offered €10 million in September 2022, she said. But by October, because of what it said was “the very difficult funding and operating climate that exists”, it was offering a new figure which “fell well short” of the €10 million, she said.

Ms Stokes said she intended to fully defend the proceedings brought by Beakonford and Mr Kavanagh in which they allege Ms Wilding was acting as Ms Stokes’s alter ego/agent. She said those allegations are defamatory.

On Monday, Mr Justice Denis McDonald admitted her case against Beakonford and Mr Kavanagh to the fast-track Commercial Court on consent between the parties.

The case is also being brought by Hibernian Cellular Networks Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a company of which she is the majority shareholder and owns a large telecommunications mast on a plot of land separate from her home.

She says access to that mast, and a large water tank on the site, is also covered by certain rights granted over the land her husband previously owned.

The judge adjourned the hearing of the injunction aspect of her proceedings to July after he was told by Michael Cush, for the Stokes side, that there was an “obvious linkage” between the two sets of proceedings.

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