Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dispute over 69-acre farm worth €840,000 settled

Stock image
Stock image

Tim Healy

A LEGAL dispute over a farm worth around €840,000 has been settled.

Seamus Brennan (58) claimed Catherine Lowry, who died age 85 in 2012, intestate and without children, promised him the 69-acre farm in Ballylinan, Co Laois, if he came to work it for her.

He said he left school at 15 on the strength of that promise, inclulding that she would "treat him like a son", and lived with and worked the farm for her for the next 39 years.

Mrs Lowry's nephews, Patrick, Michael and Joseph Knowles, disputed his claim and counter-claimed seeking possession of the farm. 

When the case was about to resume today (Thurs), Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan was told by counsel for Mr Brennan it had been settled on consent and could be struck out.

The court could make a declaration the land registered in the name of Mrs Lowry was held in trust for Mr Brennan, the judge was told.

The parties had agreed to a statement that they wished to state to the court that all allegations, against Mr Brennan, the nephews and the deceased were withdrawn.

Ms Justice O'Regan, who asked what the position was about the house on the land, where Mr Brennan lived, was told by counsel for the nephews that all matters had been resolved and the parties were delighted with the outcome.

The judge said she was happy to make the orders sought.

Mr Brennan had told the court he went to work and live with Mrs Lowry, who was widowed at the age of 46, after she said she could not run the farm without his help.  He claimed she repeated those promises over the years and he was shocked after she died to learn she had not made a will.

The nephews denied any such promise was made and clamed Mr Brennan tried to bully and harass her into making a will.  It was claimed she was in fear of him for years, including after an incident in which he allegedly slapped her in the face and threatened her with a breadknife.

He denied those claims and said if she had had any problem with him, she would have gone to the gardai.

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