Farmer back in jail for refusal to quit land 'he was promised'
A FARMER has been sent back to prison after refusing to vacate the property of two bachelor brothers who died without leaving a will for their 40-acre holding.
Daniel Doherty (40) appeared before Limerick Circuit Court yesterday where he was previously held in contempt of court.
He had failed to abide by a court ruling that ordered him to vacate 40 acres of land and a house at Templeglantine, Co Limerick, owned by Edward and Mattie Roche.
Roche family counsel Emmet O'Brien said the matter had being going on for seven years and that his clients had been patient, but "enough is enough".
Previously, the court heard the Roche brothers died without leaving a will and that their nephew Eamon Roche was appointed administrator on behalf of the beneficiaries who are relatives of the brothers.
Proceedings were brought against Doherty, of Rathcahill, Templeglantine, to vacate the farmland and he lodged a counter claim, stating he was entitled to the property, having done certain works over the years on the farm, such as milking cows and saving hay.
He also claimed the brothers had promised him and his mother that he would get the property when they died.
Doherty lost his case and was ordered to vacate the property on March 4, 2010.
His appeal was thrown out by the High Court last November.
When he appeared in court yesterday the farmer refused to purge his contempt of the court order which led to him being sent to Limerick Prison a week ago.
Doherty's counsel John Cussen told the court he had explained to his client that he was breaching a court order.
"In the words of Maggie Thatcher, Danny is not for turning," Mr Cussen said.
After being repeatedly asked by Judge Carroll Moran if he was willing to obey the order, Doherty insisted he was not going to go against the wishes of the deceased brothers.
"I was with them the day Mattie died, when he got the stroke by the fire. I'm not going to go against Mattie's wishes," Doherty declared.
Mr O'Brien told the court that there were 15 dry stock cattle belonging to Daniel Doherty on his client's land and that his brother had been looking after them since he was sent to prison.
Mr O'Brien said it would not be a "big logistical event" to move the cattle to the neighbouring Doherty farm.
He warned that his clients feared there may be trouble if they tried start moving the cattle themselves.
Following discussions, the Roche family said they would be willing to move the cattle off the property within seven days, if there was a garda escort.
Judge Moran told Doherty that he was going to have to stay in prison until he obeyed the order of the court.
He gave the state liberty to re-enter the matter at any time the defendant wished to purge his contempt.
"I don't want to keep you in prison a minute longer than I have to," Judge Moran said.