herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Squatter of 30 years wins fight to stay put

A MAN who broke in to a house 30 years ago and has lived there since has squatter's rights, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Desmond Grogan found out the barrister-owner of the house had no next of kin while working at an auctioneers.

A court majority yesterday ruled that he can continue to live there.

It found the Chief State Solicitor cannot pursue a claim for court orders requiring him to give up possession of the house at Enniskery Road, Phibsboro, Dublin.

The house belonged to 80-year-old barrister, Alice Dolan, who died in October 1981 and had not made a will.

Mr Grogan broke into the house through the back door in February 1982 after learning of Ms Dolan's death.

Ms Dolan, born Alice Williams was predeceased by her husband Patrick in 1969.

The Chief State Solicitor later became the personal representative of her estate and issued Circuit Court proceedings in May 2002 seeking orders requiring Mr Grogan to deliver up possession of the house to the State. Mr Grogan disputed the State's right to possession and argued, as he had lived in the premises since 1982, he had achieved adverse possession or squatter's rights because he had exceeded the 12-year period required for adverse possession.

Legal issues arising from the case were referred by the Circuit Court for determination and the Supreme Court's 2/1 majority ruling on those matters yesterday means the State cannot pursue its claim for possession.

hnews@herald.ie

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