Saturday 16 December 2017

Ex-soldier loses squatter rights case over land bought by Bailey brothers

Philip Gilligan: served with
Army in the Lebanon
Philip Gilligan: served with Army in the Lebanon

Tim Healy

A MAN has lost a High Court claim that he is entitled to squatter's rights on land which was bought in the 1990s by developers Tom and Michael Bailey.

Former soldier Philip Gilligan claimed he had been keeping horses on the property in Swords in Dublin for years when an auctioneer acting for the Baileys' Bovale Developments Ltd in the purchase of the lands walked around the property in the mid-1990s.

Mr Gilligan claimed he continued to occupy the land and built stables until they burned down in 2006.

Mr Gilligan, of Castlegrange Avenue, Swords, claimed he was entitled to adverse possession of the five acres at Miltonsfields, Swords, off the old N1.

Adverse possession -- squatter's rights -- comes about where there is a continuous unchallenged occupation of land for a period of 12 years.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy said Mr Gilligan had failed to establish continuous use of the lands for a 12-year period and his claim therefore had to fail. The judge said aerial photographs were decisive in the court's ruling and some had shown there was no livestock on the lands during the periods claimed by Mr Gilligan.

He was satisfied that up until 1996, there was nobody in occupation of the lands which were owned by the Campbell family.


Evidence was given by Mr Gilligan and other witnesses that stables were erected and other works carried out during the period of 1998 to 2006, but there was no corroborating evidence for these works in terms of receipts or notes, the judge said.

Last February, the court heard Mr Gilligan claimed he kept horses and other livestock there since 1988 and maintained the land and built stables there.

He said this was never challenged until 2006 when he got a phone call on behalf of Bovale telling him he was to get his horses off the land. A fire broke out on the property shortly after this, Mr Gilligan said.

Mr Gilligan sought a declaration that he was entitled to be registered as owner and an order restraining the Baileys and two of their companies from going on to the land without his consent.

The brothers and Bovale asserted title to the land and said it was registered in the name of Ace of Clubs Neckwear Ltd (formerly Hortex Manufacturing Ltd).

They disputed Mr Gilligan's claim that he had been in continuous possession since September 1988. They also said if he did enjoy possession, it was unlawful and he was trespassing.

Mr Gilligan told the court he had looked after the land continuously since 1988. He denied there were periods when he was not in possession, including two periods when he served terms of duty with the Army in the Lebanon.

Irish Independent

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