Q I haven't had a proper sleep-in for nearly a year. A neighbour sold a site right across from me in 2018 and since last April, some people have been building a monstrosity of a house on it.
I don't know the people who are building it; they're not from around here, but they seem to be doing a lot of the work themselves.
They are here, working away on the site every weekend from about 7am. The noise is something awful. I don't know what they're at but it's like living beside a quarry.
Sunday morning is the only time I allow myself a sleep-in. The wife does the milking, and I stay in bed until Mass time. It's the best part of my week and these people across the road have ruined it.
I don't want to start a war with my new neighbours, but is there anything I can do?
If possible, I'd like to do it in a way that they wouldn't know it was me.
Please help, I'm afraid I'm going to go out there some morning and do something I'll regret.
A Noise disturbance can be a common cause of dispute between neighbours.
There are regulations dealing with the area of noise disturbance but the law does not specifically define the level of noise that would amount to nuisance.
S. 108 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 outlines that noise amounts to nuisance where the noise is "so loud, so continuous, so repeated, of such duration or pitch or occurring at such times as to give reasonable cause for annoyance to a person in any premises in the neighbourhood or to a person lawfully using any public place."
In every dispute between neighbours, the first course of action is to speak with your neighbour.
You could go over to them and explain the effect the noise coming from their property has on you. You should make a note of the date that you speak with them.
If after speaking with them, the matter is not resolved, then you could write a letter again outlining the effect the noise has on your daily life.
You only say in your query that they work on the site every weekend - are they not on the site during the week?
If the noise still does not abate, then your next course of action could be to contact your local authority.
This would be particularly relevant as often in granting planning permission, the local authority may insert conditions regarding noise, construction times etc.
The authority could then, if they deem it appropriate, contact that neighbour and direct they take such actions to reduce the noise.
If the neighbour does not adhere to these directions, the authority can take the matter further.
Local authorities often post planning applications and permissions online and you could check these for details. You can still bring the matter to the attention of your local authority even if there are no noise-related conditions in the planning permission.
Another option is for you to bring an application before your local District Court to obtain a Noise Order to prohibit the continuance of the noise. To be successful, you will need to prove that you satisfy the definition of noise nuisance as outlined in S. 108 above.
One possible way of doing this is to keep a diary detailing when the noise stops and starts, what type it was and how it affected you. A decibel reader would assist in this.
Your solicitor would be able to advise you on such an application and the proofs required. If you bring this particular application, then your neighbour will know you did so.
Unfortunately, it appears you and your neighbours have gotten off to a bad start, and it is best to resolve any neighbour disputes as soon as possible.
I would suggest talking to your neighbour in the first instance to see if matters can be resolved amicably.
This article is intended as a general guide and you should seek independent legal advice in relation to specific circumstances.
Deirdre Flynn is from a farming background and practises as a solicitor in Tralee, Co Kerry