'High-handed approach' in wall dispute
a MAN adopted a "high-handed approach" in dealing with his neighbour in a dispute over a boundary in a seaside village, the president of the High Court has said.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns ordered quantity surveyor and project manager Dermot Forkan to remove a wall which he built as part of what the judge said was his "enormous" family home with "panoramic views" over Loughshinny Harbour in north county Dublin.
The wall, built during construction of Mr Forkan's home called Cois Farraige in 2007, had blocked off access for the car of Maureen O'Byrne and her late husband Terence into their neighbouring holiday home called Foxlake.
The O'Byrnes had turned up to find they were unable to get into a garage on the property as a result of the wall being built in what the judge said was "a rather astonishing" situation for any neighbour to be put in.
He was giving judgment in an appeal by Mr Forkan and his wife Noeleen against a 2014 Circuit Court decision in which the O'Byrnes were awarded €37,500 against the Forkans.
That court found the Forkans had trespassed on the O'Byrne property and ordered them to remove "all structures" which had been built within the O'Byrnes' boundary. The Forkans appealed that decision to the High Court.
Mrs O'Byrne said she and her late husband bought Foxlake as a holiday/retirement home in 1995.
When the Forkans bought next door in 2007, the O'Byrnes arrived one day to find their driveway completely blocked by construction works.
They were later removed following complaints but Mr Forkan then had a wall built which was also later removed because it did not comply with planning, she said.
However, he subsequently built another small wall and the O'Byrnes decided to hire someone to remove it with a digger.
However, she said, when the workman arrived, Mr Forkan sat on the wall and the work had to be abandoned.
She said as he sat there he told them: "I do not want you here, I am going to run you out of here."
On another occasion, when a crane was being used to put rubble on the driveway, there was a scuffle between her husband and Mr Forkan who ended up on top of Mr O'Byrne, who was in his 70s.
Mr Forkan told the court he had done his best to try to resolve the dispute and had done everything in compliance with his planning permission.
Mr Justice Kearns said he was satisfied Mrs O'Byrne was entitled to succeed and as a first step he wanted the wall removed so that she could drive a car into her property.
He would not interfere with the €37,500 Circuit Court award given the "high-handed approach taken by Mr Forkan" in dealing with the elderly Mr O'Byrne, who must have suffered a great deal of distress.