Friday 19 January 2018

Gardai quiz former star hurler over land dispute

Paul Codd
Paul Codd

David Tucker and Louise Hogan

GARDAI have questioned a former Wexford hurling star amid allegations of criminal damage in a farmland dispute.

All-Ireland winner Paul Codd (36) is understood to have denied the allegations in a row over 46 acres of land at Askinfarney, outside Clonroche, Co Wexford. Mr Codd was questioned for several hours in the dispute over the farmland being contested by Mr Codd, Cork dairy farmer David Deasy and Mr Codd's neighbour, Michael Martin.

Gardai have been to the land at the centre of the row on several occasions in the past few weeks, and are now seeking witnesses and taking statements.

Mr Codd has claimed ownership and blocked access with trailers, while signs have been erected stating 'No Trespassing'.

Dairy farmer Mr Deasy, from Timoleague, Co Cork, purchased the 46 acres in 2003.

Mr Codd, who lined out for the Wexford senior side 84 times in a 10-year career and played a key role for Rathnure in last year's county championship, owned the adjoining farm.

Mr Deasy re-sold the parcel of land through an auctioneer to Mr Codd in 2008 for €800,000.

Mr Deasy said he received a partial deposit of €40,000 for the land but problems emerged in completing the sale.

"Protracted negotiations took place to get the sale to go through. We did everything we could. I did not get the money," Mr Deasy said.

When the land was put up for sale again by public auction, it is understood Mr Codd addressed the room and claimed title to the land.

A High Court judgment of €530,326 was registered in September 2011 by Mr Deasy against Mr Codd, of Askinfarney, Clonroche.

Mr Deasy said the land had been idle for around 18 months and he sold it late last year by private treaty to Michael Martin, a neighbouring farmer to Mr Codd.

"It is very difficult for myself and I want a solution to it," Mr Martin said. "The land was lying idle for a year-and-a-half. I cleaned it up, ploughed it and had it ready to sow."

However, Mr Martin said Mr Codd blocked access.

"He wasn't on it (the land) for a year and a half before that," Mr Martin added.

Mr Martin said he lives around three miles away from Mr Codd but has had no contact with him, adding: "I'm in the middle of something I don't want to be in the middle of. He has just taken it over, simple as that," he said.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) county chairman JJ Kavanagh said the association would be willing to offer someone to help mediate and get a solution to the issue.

"It is very difficult, as from our perspective it is farmer against farmer.

"At the end of the day there is no room for a winner here," Mr Kavanagh said. "Land can be an emotional issue."

Irish Independent

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