Victim's family in battle over farm
THE children of a suspected murder victim have lost their claim to a family farm.
Seamus Doherty (67) was found dead at Drumcanoo, Churchill, Co Donegal, on June 17, 2012, having suffered head wounds. His death is still the subject of a garda investigation.
Mr Doherty's son and daughters claim that he solely farmed his mother's land, an 11.6-acre farm at Prucklish, Churchill, since her death in 1998.
No will was ever made and the late Mr Doherty's seven brothers and sisters claim that the farm, which was valued at one stage at €171,380, should be divided equally in eight parts.
The Doherty family first decided to take an action seeking to have the lands divided after a son of Seamus Doherty began to cut down trees on the farm.
Since then a bitter dispute has erupted between both sides, including the late Mr Doherty's children and their aunts and uncles Veronica, Bernadette, Philomena, Francis, Billy, Vincent and Eamon.
The case was heard at a civil sitting of Letterkenny Circuit Court.
Judge John O'Hagan described the case as a very tragic one. However, he said he was satisfied that the appropriate length of time had not passed to allow adverse possession by Seamus Doherty and his family.
He said he appreciated that Brian Edward Doherty (the late Seamus Doherty's son) was still working the land and had animals on it and gave him three months to vacate the lands.
He also ordered that both sides pay 50pc of the costs.