Friday 20 September 2019

Couple take High Court case against relatives after water pump house destroyed by JCB

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Aodhan O'Faolain

A couple whose home has been without running water since September after a JCB destroyed a pump house serving the property have brought a High Court case against their neighbours and relatives.

Anthony and Kathleen Hogan of Mullica Lower, Donard, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow, are suing Kevin Lawlor Senior and his son Kevin Junior also of Mullica Lower, Donard, Dunlavin.

Mrs Hogan and Mr Lawlor Senior are siblings, the court heard.

Ronan Lupton BL, for the Hogans, said it is his clients’ belief, but they cannot say for certain, that Mr Lawlor senior demolished the pumphouse.

Since the incident, Mr Hogan says Mr Lawlor Snr has taken steps to impede anyone trying to restore water to their home and has erected a steel fence effectively blocking access to the site of the pumphouse.

Counsel said the pumphouse was located on Mr Lawlor's property over which the Hogan's say they have a right of way.

In a sworn statement, Mr Hogan said; "all members of the extended Lawlor family, if they were honest, live in fear of Kevin Snr" because of his "aggressive and unpredictable nature particularly when he his drunk." 

On the night the pumphouse was destroyed, Mr Lawlor senior was found by gardai driving another vehicle at speed across a self-made pathway at the rear of the Hogan's property, Mr Hogan said.

He said Mr Lawlor was very intoxicated at the time.

Workers hired by the Hogans were told by Mr Lawlor Snr that "the pump was his", had "nothing to do with the Hogans" and would not allow them to approach the site.

He said that prior to the incident Mr Lawlor Snr told him in a threatening manner he would demolish the pumphouse, without giving a reason. 

Mr Hogan said Mr Lawlor Snr has been aggressive to the Hogan family and on one occasion while intoxicated kicked in their door and stormed down to the Hogan's  bedroom

Mr Lawlor Jnr has also been aggressive towards the Hogans including calling to their home and ringing the doorbell of their home in the early hours of the morning, Mr Hogan said.

Counsel said that while his clients have done all they can they are unable to resolve matters with the defendants.

They have had to rely on "the kindness of others" in regards to the situation with water.

They have to shower in their son's house and have had to collect rainwater in drums and from a local stream so they can flush their toilet.

The Hogans seek various injunctions against their neighbours and relatives including orders that the Lawlors cease harassing them,  allow them access to their lands and over the right of way.

They also seek an order preventing the Lawlors from blocking the Hogan's agents from restoring the well and pump house providing the Hogans home with water.

Counsel said that his clients had taken legal steps, but  a person who attempted to serve a legal letter on the defendants had been intimidated and threatened by Mr Lawlor Snr.

On Friday, Mr Justice Tony O Connor granted Mr Lupton permission to serve short notice, on an ex parte (one side only represented) basis, of the proceedings on the Lawlors.

The case was adjourned to next week.

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