A judge has stated that she is not going to criminalise four respectable north Clare farmers involved in a row over a right of way in Bellharbour in the Burren.
Farmer Terence McGann (43) of Turlough, Bellharbour, denies the assault of Joseph Forde at Turlough, Bellharbour, on October 4, 2021. Mr McGann’s twin brother Justin (43), of the same address, denies the assault of Emmet Forde at the same location on the same date.
Emmet Forde (32) of Glenoir, St Senan’s Rd, Ennis, denies the assault of Justin McGann at the same location on the same date and Joseph Forde (64) of Turlough, Bellharbour, denies the assault of Terence McGann at the same location on the same date.
Sgt Aiden Lonergan told Ennis District Court: “The State would be alleging that the underlying issue to this is access to land and the extent to which that access exists, and there are allegations and counter allegations in relation to the alleged assault on the date in question.”
In response, Judge Larkin said: “I take the view that we should move it back until after the circuit court decides on the right of way.
“I am not going to litigate a right of way here in the district court and they can employ barristers and spend loads of money in the circuit court and defend their positions there.
“You know my views on this. I was a country solicitor in a country place. I know what these things are like. It all settles down and we all go on.
“I can see from their addresses that they are all respectable people. They shouldn’t be in a criminal court.
“I am not going to designate blame in relation to neighbours on matters of a right of way. These are regular, ordinary people making their living off the land.
“I suggest that they resolve their issues in relation to where the right of way is.”
Solicitor for the Fordes, Daragh Hassett, said that proceedings have not yet been issued concerning the civil matter of the right of way in the circuit court.
Judge Larkin adjourned all matters to June 14.