Lissadell owners begin Supreme Court appeal



Published 22/01/2013 | 15:41

Lissadell House proprietors, Eddie Walsh and Constance Cassidy with legendary musician and poet, Leonard Cohen who officially opened the Yeats' Gallery at Lissadell House in 2010.

THE APPEAL by the owners of Lissadell House over rights-of-way at the estate began in the Supreme Court yesterday.

The High Court in December 2010 ruled against the owners, barrister couple Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy.

They bought the estate in 2003 for €4m and spent some €9.5m restoring it.

Judge Bryan McMahon dismissed their proceedings brought against the County Council concerning the alleged existence of rights of way.

The owners are also appealing an award of some €6m in costs awarded against them. The case ran for 58 days. It was initiated after the Council passed a resolution in December 2008 to amend the county development plan to include a provision for the "preservation of the public rights of way" along certain routes at Lissadell.

The couple had claimed four routes through the 410-acre estate were not subject to any public rights of way.

However, Judge McMahon ruled against them and said they should continue to be used only during daylight hours.

Opening the case in the Supreme Court, Senior Counsel Brian Murray, for the couple, said the main thrust of their appeal was on the basis that the trial judge had erred in law.

They would also argue that the county council's case was "sparse and thin".

The council was effectively saying the creation of four routes in the last 150 years would have meant there was an event of immense historical interest whereby a private landowner of what was originally a 32,000 acre estate, in an act of "unprecden-dented munificence" dedicated public access to his estate, Mr Murray said.

This included a route which came right up to the door of Lissadell House despite the fact that the original house had been rebuilt and the estate reconfigured to ensure privacy for the house, he said.

The hearing is expected to last 10 days before the five-judge Supreme Court.

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