Gate blocked 'in bid to scare' Lissadell row witness
Published 08/02/2010 | 05:00
Traffic cones and a roadwork sign were used to block the entrance to the home of a witness who gave evidence for the owners of Lissadell Estate at a High Court hearing into rights of way.
Charlie Kelly, who owns Atlantic Clams Ireland Ltd and rents premises from the estate, appeared before Mr Justice Bryan McMahon as a witness in the ongoing dispute between lawyer couple Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy, and Sligo County Council. The dispute centres on the existence of alleged rights of way on the Co Sligo estate.
Mr Kelly (55), who lives with his wife Catherine and five children aged 12 to 19 in the north Sligo village of Rathcormac, discovered three council cones and a 'Men at Work' sign blocking the entrance of their home yesterday morning.
He said his wife had heard activity outside the house between 3 and 4am and thought nothing of it until they checked after breakfast.
"There are no roadworks anywhere near my house so I must presume it was some kind of intimidation about my evidence during the week," he said.
Mr Kelly said he was involved in shellfish farming in Drumcliff Bay and rented premises from the Lissadell Estate.
Gardai were called to take details on yesterday's incident. A council spokesman said they had no knowledge of it.
Ten days ago Mr Justice McMahon travelled roadways through the estate -- including one that passes the front door -- to assess at first-hand the issues that have been before the court during the past three weeks following an adjournment in October.
Mr Walsh told the court that the council's actions were "designed to humiliate, embarrass and undermine everything that had been done" at the 410-acre estate since the couple bought it in 2003.
Mr Walsh and Ms Cassidy bought the estate for almost €4m.
They spent €9.5m restoring it and claim they can't operate it as a tourist amenity if public rights of way exist.