A west Clare farmer arrested by Gardai 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 on Wednesday, 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 13th last.
As part of the single criminal damage charge, John Morrissey is also charged with damaging the contents of the home/house of Mary Morrissey and Tom Morrissey.
John Morrissey - who celebrated 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 today, Det Sgt John Farmer stated that John Morrissey made ‘no reply’ to the new charge.
Det Sgt Farmer stated that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has recommended that the case be heard in the circuit court.
Those convicted of criminal damage in the circuit court can face prison terms up to 10 years.
Mr Morrissey has been on remand at Limerick prison over the past two weeks after Judge Patrick Durcan refused bail to the man concerning a separate criminal damage charge to a fuse box at the home of his brother, Tom Morrissey at Alva, Cooraclare on May 5th.
The Morrissey brothers’ mother was buried the same day and John Morrissey was arrested after the alleged criminal damage incident on the same day.
Concerning the new charge, Sgt Aiden Lonergan told the court that the new criminal damage charge is connected to the alleged May 5th offence.
Sgt Lonergan said that the origins of the two alleged incidents are the same.
Sgt Lonergan stated that the DPP has yet to give directions on the alleged May 5th offence but that the two charges “may travel together”.
When the first criminal damage charge came before the court two weeks ago, solicitor for John Morrissey, Stiofan Fitzpatrick 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.”
He stated: “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 stated that the property is owned by Mr Morrissey’s late mother.
He stated: “We don’t know who that property has been passed onto. There is no information in relation to that.”
Mr Fitzpatrick stated that John Morrissey farms all of the land surrounding the house.
Judge Durcan further remanded Mr Morrissey in custody to appear before the court next Wednesday, May 27th via video link.