Man’s wall blocked neighbour’s drive

Dermot Forkan built a wall that blocked his neighbour, Maureen O'Byrne, right, from driving up to her holiday home. Mr Forkan had been appealing a circuit court decision granting Mrs O'Byrne and her husband €37,500.

A man adopted a “high handed approach” in dealing with his neighbour in a dispute over a boundary in a seaside village, the president of the High Court has said.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns ordered quantity surveyor and project manager Dermot Forkan to remove a wall which he built as part of what the judge said was his “enormous” family home with views over Loughshinny Harbour in north Co Dublin.

The wall, built in 2007, had blocked off access for the car of Maureen O’Byrne and her late husband Terence into their holiday home.

The O’Byrnes had turned up one day to find they were unable to get into a garage on the property as a result of the wall being built in what the judge was “a rather astonishing” situation for any neighbour to be put in.

He was giving judgment in an appeal by Mr Forkan and his wife Noeleen against a January 2014 Circuit Court decision in which the O’Byrnes were awarded €37,500 against the Forkans.

That court found the Forkans had trespassed on the O’Byrne property and ordered them to remove “all structures” which had been built within the O’Byrnes’ boundary.

The Forkans appealed that decision to the High Court.

Mrs O’Byrne said she and her late husband bought Foxlake as a holiday/retirement home in 1995.

Mr Forkan told the court he had done his best to try to resolve the dispute and had done everything in compliance with his planning permission.

He disputed the claim that the wall prevented a person from driving up the driveway.

Mr Justice Kearns said he was satisfied Mrs O’Byrne was entitled to succeed and as a first step he wanted the wall at the centre of this dispute removed so she could drive a car into her property.

He would not interfere with the €37,500 Circuit Court award given the “high handed approach taken by Mr Forkan” in dealing with the elderly Mr O’Byrne who must have suffered a great deal of distress.


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