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Monday 1 September 2014

Council was sent Lissadell warning on eve of motion

Paul Deering

Published 15/04/2014 | 05:40

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The owners of Lissadell House, Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy.

County Councillors were warned five years ago by Lissadell's owners they faced "protracted and expensive litigation" if they adopted a motion on alleged rights of way through the estate.

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County Councillors were warned five years ago by Lissadell's owners they faced "protracted and expensive litigation" if they adopted a motion on alleged rights of way through the estate.

The warning came in an email from the owners to councillors just days before they unanimously adopted Clr Joe Leonard's motion. The email also stated such legal action would only "waste money, energy and time" of both the Council and the owners themselves.

Documents seen by The Sligo Champion show the email was sent to councillors on Friday night, November 28th 2008. It wasn't sent to the proposer of the motion, Clr Leonard.

Councillors voted unanimously on the following Monday, December 1st to adopt the motion to amend the County Development Plan. The motion precipitated the legal action that resulted in lengthy hearings in the High Court and Supreme Court.

It has left the Council facing a legal bill of upwards on €10 million after it was ordered to pay three quarters of the owners' legal fees and its own.

Mr Edward Walsh and Ms Constance Cassidy told councillors in the email if their property became "a public thoroughfare" it could close.

The owners' solicitor Gerard McGovern also sent a letter to then County Manager Hubert Kearns expressing concern about the motion. Mr McGovern said the owners had been given no opportunity to consider or comment on it.

* see pages 8 & 9

Sligo Champion

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