Monday 16 September 2019

Siblings go to court to remove 'squatters' from their €250k Dublin cottage

Sean Fitzgerald, pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Sean Fitzgerald, pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Stock picture

Ray Managh

A sister and brother, who live in Australia, have asked a judge in the Circuit Civil Court to clear their €250,000 Dublin cottage of a group they say are squatting in the property.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard Monday that the owners, retired nurse Lorraine Lyons and her businessman brother Peter Harte, who both live in Sydney, New South Wales, had been unable to gain legal access to the cottage at 11 Shamrock Street, Phibsborough, Dublin.

Barrister Owen Donnelly, counsel for the Australian couple, told the court they had been left the cottage by their aunt and wanted to sell it now that house prices were on the rise. Agents acting on their behalf had been unable to gain access to prepare it for sale because of a group of people who had illegally occupied the property.

Ms Lyons, of Kangaroo Point, Sylvania, Sydney, in a sworn statement opened to the court, said she and her brother were seeking to recover vacant possession of the cottage on which, in September 2016, it was found that locks had been changed and a Mr Sean Fitzgerald had claimed to be squatting in it with a group of individuals.

Mr Donnelly, who appeared with DFMG Solicitors for the Australian siblings, said Mr Fitzgerald and a number of unknown people in occupation of the cottage had received warning letters but had refused to move out.

Ms Lyons and Mr Harte have asked Judge Linnane for orders directing Fitzgerald and all others in occupation of the property to vacate the cottage and restraining them from further trespass or obstructing their agents from taking possession of the property.

Sean Fitzgerald told Judge Linnane he was homeless and had nowhere else to live other than in 11 Shamrock Street.  He asked for an adjournment to allow him deal with the application for vacant possession before the court.

Judge Linnane said she had to check a number of individuals at the back of the court who had sought to treat the application as a bit of a joke.  The court had been told that Mr Fitzgerald and others were in unlawful possession of the cottage and she had learned from court documents that the group involved had squatted in other properties and had been ejected by court order.

She told Fitzgerald she would deal with the matter on Thursday, May 17 and that he could inform the unidentified squatters in occupation with him that the application would go ahead on that day. He could contact any solicitor he wished to in the meantime.

The Australian couple were not in court for Monday’s hearing.

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