One of the region’s best-known businessmen, Noel O’Gara from Ballinahown, was in the District Court in Athlone again this week (November 18) to face a number of charges relating to his alleged audit of a company or companies whilst disqualified from doing so.
The nine similar charges are being brought by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), who were represented in court by two executive officers, and barrister, Mr Remy Farrell SC.
A person can be charged with a breach S187 (vi) of the Companies Act 1990 by performing an audit on a company for which (a) one lacks the appropriate qualification to do so or (b) one is too closely associated with.
O’Gara, continuing his practice of representing himself at the short hearing, pleaded not guilty.
Judge Eamonn O’Brien put the case back until the special sitting of the Athlone District Court on December 15 for hearing.
Mr O’Gara, a ground rent speculator, came to national notoriety two years ago when he bought up the leasehold of a leafy square in Ranelagh in Dublin from under the noses of Dublin City Council for less than €10,000 and then closed it to the public.
A compulsory purchase order was put on it by the council and a High Court injunction had to stop him from turning it into a car park.
He was quoted as saying he would take €65m from the council for its return to public ownership, whilst actively trying to turn it into a car park, and a tile showroom. Proceedings there are ongoing.
O’Gara stood in a number of constituencies on an anti-planning platform in last year’s general elections and collected 27 votes in Dublin South East and 84 in Longford-Westmeath.
O’Gara has also written a book in which he reveals what he purports to be the true identity of the Yorkshire Ripper, having claimed to have worked with him prior to the infamous murder spree over 30 years ago. The book is not available in shops.
The ODCE has published a series of seven information booklets dealing with the principal duties and powers of companies and all their officers - directors, secretaries, shareholders, auditors, creditors, liquidators, receivers and examiners.
These booklets are to make the complex provisions of company law more readily understandable to a non-professional audience and can be accessed on its website www.odce.ie