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'Thank you would have done' - hedge dispute neighbour tells court

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James and Ann Madigan

James and Ann Madigan

James and Ann Madigan

ONE of the neighbours involved in a legal battle over a hedge and lane has told the High Court it was the last place on Earth he wanted to be.

"A 'please' and 'thank you' would have sufficed," James Madigan said.

He was replying to counsel for his next-door-neighbours when asked was it his position it was too late for common sense to prevail in the dispute.

Mr Madigan, a former prison warder, was giving evidence in the second day of the action between neighbours Kathleen Maureen Rueter and her children, Marian and Sean Rueter, who operate a caravan park in a scenic area by the sea in Co Wicklow.

The case is before the High Court by way of an appeal from the Circuit Court, which last year found in favour of James and Anne Madigan, Askintinny near Clogga Beach, Arklow, and awarded them a total of €5,000 damages for trespass and nuisance.

The court said they were entitled to a right-of-way onto the lane for the purpose of maintaining their hedgerow.

The Rueters, whose caravan park is at the end of the disputed lane, have appealed that decision to the High Court.

The court heard that an open offer had been made by the Rueter side to settle the case, which includes €20,000 contribution towards legal costs.

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

Yesterday, James Madigan agreed he had written a letter to Wicklow CoCouncil complaining that the Rueter caravan park was encroaching on his property and also complained of unofficial discos on the site.

LICENCe

In 2006, Mr Madigan had objected to the granting of the continuation of the licence for the caravan park.

Under cross-examination, he agreed he had once put 14 signs up along the lane saying nobody had a right to encroach on his property. At another time he put a white line on the road to mark out his border.

Mr Madigan said Kathleen Maureen Rueter had pulled his cap off and pushed him in an incident on the road after he had soil delivered.

Counsel for the Rueters, Peter Bland, asked Mr Madigan to look at Mrs Rueter in court, who he said was 85 years of age and 4-foot-10 in height. "You were a prison warder and six foot," counsel said. Mr Madigan said Mrs Rueter was very active.

Anne Madigan told the court that after the Rueters raised the level of the lane people could see into her house.

When they had soil delivered Mrs Rueter and her daughter got on top of the soil and told them they were "squatting and only mortgage holders".

hnews@herald.ie


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