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RTE's Michael in court fight with neighbours over trees

AN RTE broadcaster has started a legal battle with his neighbours over ownership of a row of trees.

Nationwide presenter Michael Ryan is taking legal action in a bid to prove he is the owner of a line of trees growing along the boundary between his home and the property of his neighbours, John and Mary Whitty.

Mr Ryan claims the trees are on his land, while Mr Whitty insists he is the owner of the land on which the trees are growing.

The court battle began yesterday in Wexford Circuit Civil Court at which lawyers for both sides fought over the trees.

Mr Ryan's counsel, Colman Cody, said the broadcaster and his wife, Ann, who died in a road accident, took possession of their house in Dunganstown, New Ross, Co Wexford, in 1977.

The property and the adjoining Whitty property had both been part of the Tottenham Estate, which was divided up around 1939. The Land Registery map reveals that the house was owned at that time by a Mary Condon and the Whitty property was owned by Mr Whitty's father.

But the map is not clear about the boundaries between the two properties but it shows a number of trees, he said.

He said there is a stone wall on the edge of Mr Ryan's property and the trees are above that on his side.

James Brown, counsel for the Whittys, said the Land Commission maps of the time show the trees are behind the boundary of the Whitty's land.

Mr Ryan claimed that around 20 years ago Mr Whitty's cattle damaged a fence and that Mr Whitty indicated that both he and Mr Ryan owned the trees and the fence between them. Mr Whitty claimed that every second tree had been owned by his father.

In February, Mr Ryan insisted the trees were on his side of the boundary. As there was disagreement, Mr Ryan felt he had to sue.

Judge Alice Doyle adjourned the case until June 2.