Saturday 17 March 2018

Teacher and her father ordered to stop work on home in land dispute with uncle and aunt

Letterkenny Court. Picture: Google Maps
Letterkenny Court. Picture: Google Maps

Greg Harkin

A teacher and her father have been ordered to stop work on a new family home after a court heard excavation work had involved damage to the front garden of her uncle and aunt.

Judge Karen Fergus, sitting at Letterkenny Circuit Civil Court, granted an ex-parte injunction in the case.

Barrister Niall O’Neill, representing Brendan Boyle and his wife Caroline said a land dispute had arisen in Manorcunningham, Co Donegal, earlier this year and had escalated four weeks ago.

He said the Boyles had bought a plot of land in the townland of Errity in 1991 and had built a home there four years later.

Since 1996 they had used another portion of land as a field for a pony and as their front garden.

They had since discovered that in December 2014 and January 2015 Mr Boyle’s brother Michael and niece Ciara had registered two folios of land in their names and had since been given planning permission to build a house in the area.

He said his clients saw a notice for planning permission on another portion of land owned by Michael Boyle and took no issue with it.

Mr O’Neill said his clients believed the house was to be erected on Michael’s land and they were left shocked when the fence around their field was ‘torn down’ in January this year.

Last month, on September 14, Brendan’s wife Caroline arrived home from work to discover extensive works had begun on the pony field and garden which they claimed ownership off.

Mr O’Neill told Judge Fergus that his clients had use of land for 21 years without any objection from other family members.

He said they had worked the land, fenced it off and used it for a driveway, pony field and a garden.

The barrister said “extensive damage” had now been done to his client’s property estimated at between €5,000 and €10,000.

Photographs showing major excavation work close to Brendan and Caroline's home were shown to the court.

Mr O'Neill said requests to workers on the site to stop preparatory works on the new home had been ignored.

“My clients have had exclusive beneficial occupation of the lands in question since 1995 and the lands had not been used by anyone since the death of Manus Boyle Snr in 1981,” said the barrister.

Judge Fergus granted an order restraining further works on the site.

She granted the injunction, allowing Brendan and Caroline Boyle’s legal team to serve the injuction on Michael and schoolteacher Ciara Boyle personally or via their legal representatives.

Judge Fergus adjourned the case until next Tuesday.

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