Family in court over basketball hope for mediation
A family whose neighbours have taken a court action stopping them from playing basketball in their back garden say they are hopeful mediation can resolve the bitter dispute.
Michael and Dawn Thompson, from Temple Manor Court in Walkinstown, Dublin, say their three teenage children are "very upset" after a neighbour brought a noise pollution case to the district court.
Mark Burke, who founded and directs IT recruitment firm Hook Head, lives next door to the Thompsons in a semi-detached house and has told the family that their playing is persistent and interfering with his living and that his concerns are shared by other neighbours.
The family say Mr Burke first complained around three years ago and they heard nothing again until a letter of complaint was received last December. Then five weeks ago they learned of the court action.
Michael is a coach with Templeogue Basketball Club where his oldest son Luke (19) plays on the club's premier league side. He has previously represented Dublin and Ireland and has spent time playing in the US.
The youngest children, Bethany (17) and Matthew (13), are also highly-regarded basketball players.
Michael says no other neighbours have complained to them and doesn't feel the playing is causing a nuisance.
"It's not like they're out there late in the evening past 7.30pm or 8pm, or that they're playing all day. They're in school during the day. I don't think it's unreasonable at all. I think these are the kinds of things you should expect to put up with living in an estate," Michael told the Irish Independent.
Mr Burke last night declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent, following legal advice.
The case will be heard again on July 17.
In the meantime, the Thompsons must limit their playing to between 5pm and 7pm weekdays and noon and 1pm on weekends – something the children find very difficult to do
"It's really annoying because it's the only sport I play. If you're inside studying or watching TV it's nice to be able to go and play even for just a few minutes. But now we've to wait until it's the right time," Bethany (17) said.
Michael says the current arrangement is "unsuitable" as they don't get to play at all some days if it is raining at the allotted time. "We were told to rent out a court but that isn't practicable. To rent out a court for an hour is €40 or €50. That's too much for just one family," he said.