Tuesday 16 January 2018

Lissadell rights-of-way case may be heard early next year

Tim Healy

AN appeal over rights-of-way at historic Lissadell estate in Co Sligo may be heard in the Supreme Court early next year.

A Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice John MacMenamin, is dealing with pre-appeal case management issues and he indicated today he was aiming for an appeal hearing in January, 2013.

The appeal could take up to ten days, the judge was told.

The appeal has been taken by barristers Constance Cassidy and Edward Walsh, the owners of Lissadell, against the High Court judgment of Mr Justice Bryan McMahon, delivered in December 2010. Judge McMahon dismissed their proceedings brought against Sligo County Council concerning the alleged existence of rights of way.

The owners are also appealing an award of costs against them of the lengthy High Court proceedings, which ran for 58 days. Those costs have been estimated as around €6m.

The case was initiated after the Council passed a resolution in December 2008 to amend the Sligo County Development plan to include a provision for the "preservation of the public rights of way" along certain routes at Lissadell.

In their action, the couple had claimed four routes through the 410-acre estate were not subject to any public rights of way but Mr Justice McMahon disagreed. He ruled, while the public rights of way exist, they should continue to be used only during daylight hours as had been the situation in the past.

The Lissadell estate was previously the home of the Gore Booth family for some 400 years and originally consisted of about 32,000 acres. Constance Gore Booth, later Countess Markievicz, was Ireland's first woman Government Minister, while the poet WB Yeats was a frequent visitor to Lissadell.

Ms Cassidy and Mr Walsh bought the estate in 2003 for €4m and spent some €9.5m restoring it.

Evidence was given during the hearing the State had decided against purchasing the property after former Minister Martin Cullen said restoration work would have cost about €30m.

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