Artist, 86, takes community group to court seeking the building of 2.4m-high wall

An 86-year-old artist has taken a community group to court seeking an order for them to build a 2.4m wall next to his Donegal home.

Patrick Coyle, from The Gallery, Keadue, Barnsmore, claims his privacy and tranquility have been ruined by the Barnesmore Community Development Group.

He brought an injunction at Letterkenny Circuit Court seeking to order the group to build a 2.4m wall next to his house.

In 2000, the group bought the Barnesmore National School which had closed down in the 1980s. The group renovated the property and added a basketball court. The works, including a retaining wall, were completed by 2008.

However, Mr Coyle claimed the group’s actions have led to an intrusion on his life, including claims that floodlights for the basketball court were shining into his home.

He also claims young people have been hanging around the premises, drinking and playing cards.

He wants the wall extended so it can protect his privacy.

The claims were disputed by Una Murphy, a director of the community centre. She claimed they had at all times consulted Mr Coyle and he had never objected to the development.

Mr Coyle claimed a dry stone wall had been damaged by a retaining wall partially built between the two properties. He said the damage caused to this wall had affected the appearance of his property.

It had since been agreed that the lights would be moved to a different angle and the issue of the floodlights was not one of contention between the parties.

Patricia McLoughlin, for Mr Coyle, said litigation would be costly to both parties and her client was merely seeking a retaining wall to be built.

However, James O’Donnell, for the group, said at no time had any complaint been made since 2008 by Mr Coyle until recently.

Mr O’Donnell said the group had offered to have the work to the stone wall and damaged shrubbery fixed by a community worker but this was rejected by Mr Coyle. He also said no reports of anti-social behaviour had been made to gardaí

Judge John O’Hagan refused the injunction, saying it would be like using a “hammer to crack a nut”. He adjourned the case to February 27 at Donegal Circuit Court.


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