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Judge awards couple €5,000 for trespass against neighbour in hedge battle

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James Madigan, of Clogga, Co. Wicklow pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Tues) after giving evidence during the opening day of a High Court action for damages. Pic: Courts Collins

James Madigan, of Clogga, Co. Wicklow pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Tues) after giving evidence during the opening day of a High Court action for damages. Pic: Courts Collins

James Madigan, of Clogga, Co. Wicklow pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Tues) after giving evidence during the opening day of a High Court action for damages. Pic: Courts Collins

NEIGHBOURS in a scenic area of Wicklow are in dispute over a boundary hedge and lane way, the High Court heard.

The typical blackthorn and whitethorn hedgerow has lined the lane at Askintinny, near Clogga Beach, Arklow, for around a century but is now the subject of a legal row which already took a number of days to hear in the Circuit Court.

That court awarded James and Anne Madigan €5,000 for trespass and nuisance against their neighbour Kathleen Maureen Reuter and her children Marian and Sean who run a caravan park near the beach.

The court said the Madigans were entitled to a right of way on to the laneway for the purpose of maintaining their hedgerow.

The Reuters appealed that decision to the High Court which heard yesterday it was scheduled to last five days.

Before the appeal began, High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns urged both sides to take "an 11th-hour opportunity" to resolve the case and put their differences aside.

He warned the parties that costs in the High Court will not run in to the thousands but could be hundreds of thousands of euros.

He said he knew there was entrenched positions but said people have to co-exist and live side by side.

He hoped if they settled the matter they would look back in time on the outcome and see they had done the right thing.

The court heard that an open offer has been made by the Reuters' side to settle the case which includes €20,000 contribution towards legal costs previously incurred.

At the centre of the case is the alleged widening of the entrance to the laneway where it meets the public road and which the Madigans claim encroaches on their property.

When Mr Justice Kearns asked Mr Madigan if it was too late for common sense to prevail, he replied "afraid so" and that 20 square metres of the corner of his property was gone.

The Reuters deny all claims and lodged counter claim seeking a declaration they are entitled to exclusive ownership of the lane way and hedge.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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