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Farmer is accused of demolishing garage in row with brother over house

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John Morrissey

John Morrissey

John Morrissey

A Co Clare farmer arrested by gardaí on the same day his mother was buried - arising from a property dispute with a brother - is now charged with causing significant structural damage to the disputed property.

In a new charge brought against John Morrissey (53), of Clonreddan, Cooraclare, yesterday, he is charged with "causing significant internal and external structural damage to the home/house of Mary Morrissey and Tom Morrissey at Alva, Cooraclare" on December 13.

As part of the single criminal damage charge, John Morrissey is also charged with damaging the contents of the house of Mary Morrissey and Tom Morrissey.

John Morrissey, who marked his 53rd birthday in custody on Tuesday, is accused of demolishing the external garage of the home "and damage to the septic tank of the property belonged to Mary Morrissey and Tom Morrissey".

Giving evidence of arrest, charge and caution at Ennis District Court yesterday, Det Sgt John Farmer said John Morrissey made "no reply" to the new charge.

Remand

Det Sgt Farmer said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has recommended the case be heard in the circuit court. Those convicted of criminal damage in the circuit court can face prison terms of up to 10 years.

Mr Morrissey has been on remand at Limerick Prison over the past two weeks after Judge Patrick Durcan refused to grant him bail concerning a separate criminal damage charge to a fuse box at the home of his brother, Tom Morrissey, on May 5.

The Morrissey brothers' mother was buried the same day and John Morrissey was arrested after the alleged criminal damage incident.

Sgt Aiden Lonergan told the court yesterday that the new criminal damage charge is connected to the alleged May 5 offence.

He said the origins of the two alleged incidents are the same.

He added that the DPP has yet to give directions on the alleged May 5 offence, but that the two charges "may travel together".

When the first criminal damage charge came before the court two weeks ago, Stiofan Fitzpatrick, solicitor for John Morrissey, told the court: "It is obvious that this is a family dispute and a family matter and there is a lot of tension and strong feeling in relation to that.

"My client believes that this isn't the property of his brother who is the complainant and he believes that this will be borne out in time when the estate is dealt with."

Mr Fitzpatrick said the property is owned by Mr Morrissey's late mother.

He added: "We don't know who that property has been passed onto. There is no information in relation to that."

Mr Fitzpatrick said that John Morrissey farms all of the land surrounding the house.

Giving evidence of arrest, charge and caution to the court on the earlier date, Det Sgt Farmer said that, after being charged and cautioned, John Morrissey replied: "That's not Tom Morrissey's f***ing home."

Mr Fitzpatrick said: "Obviously the reply after caution isn't one that you would normally expect but it is obviously what my client believes and he is being up-front about it."

The judge yesterday further remanded Mr Morrissey in custody to appear before the court next Wednesday, May 27, via video link.

Irish Independent