News Courts

Thursday 18 September 2014

Farmer ordered to demolish cattle shed built over right-of-way to graveyard

Ray Managh

Published 21/07/2014 | 14:49

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Hammer and gavel

A Co Kildare farmer, who built part of a cattle shed over a right-of-way to a centuries old graveyard, has been told by a judge to take it down.

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Farmer Rodney Coe, of Yew Tree Farm, Quinsboro, Monasterevin,was today ordered by Judge Matthew Deery not to further obstruct the carriageway, both for pedestrians and cars, that crosses his lands to Yew Tree Cemetery.

Judge Deery said Andrew Mahon, Grange Road;  George Byrne, Quarry House, Ballykelly;  John Dunne, Collier and Patrick Donoher of Inchacooley, all Monasterevin, were entitled to a declaration of entitlement on behalf of their local Roman Catholic Parish to the public right-of-way.

Barrister Peter Bland., S.C., had told the Circuit Civil Court that a carriageway for horse-drawn hearses and mourners had existed for time immemorial to Yew Tree Cemetery.

He said the disputed right-of-way ran through Coe’s farmyard and lands and was currently only used by parishioners for the tending and blessing of graves.

Judge Deery, in a reserved judgment on the case which he heard over five days last year, said the parties had at that time reached a sensible settlement whereby Mr Coe would, at his own expense, build an alternative roadway to the graves without the need of anyone accessing his farmyard.

But the settlement had broken down over the expense of the undertaking and Mr Coe’s objection to certain clauses in a Kildare County Council planning permission for the new right-of-way.

He said it was left to the court to decide the matter and he ruled that the plaintiffs were entitled to the declaration of an unobstructed right-of-way to the graves of their relatives.  He also granted them an injunction directing Coe to demolish that part of the new shed that was blocking the carriageway.

Mr Bland said the graveyard and a church ruin dated back to the 6th Century and was associated with the monastic settlement of St Evin from which Monasterevin took its name.

Judge Deery said the parishioners were entitled to travel to and pay their respects to their deceased relatives in one of the country’s most historic graveyards.

The court heard that the issues had been ongoing since a lock-out in 2002 and involved parishioners, many of whom were old and infirm.  Mr Bland had said that since the initiation of proceedings in 2005 he had already lost four witnesses.

Judge Deery awarded costs against Mr Coe and refused a stay to facilitate consideration of an appeal to the High Court.

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