Filmmaker Neville Presho, from Hollywood, Co Down, is also to receive the costs of his lengthy legal battle over the destruction of his house on Tory Island, off the coast of Donegal, Justice Roderick Murphy ruled yesterday.
Last July, he won his High Court action against an adjoining hotel for trespass and physical damage to the 19th century stone house after it was gradually destroyed while was living in New Zealand between 1988 and 1994.
Mr Justice Murphy found he was entitled to a new house or its equivalent market value. The case had been adjourned to allow lawyers for both sides to make submissions on valuation after the court heard there were significant differences between the parties over what value could be put on an equivalent house in Tory.
Mr Presho’s lawyer said their valuer had put it at €60,000, while counsel for the hotel owner argued their valuer had put it at €11,000 to €12,000.
Mr Justice Murphy said based on figures presented to him he worked out the correct valuation as €46,000. The judge granted a stay on his finding in the event of an appeal.
Mr Presho had sued Ostán Thoraigh Comhlacht Teoranta, and its owner Patrick Doohan, claiming that after he returned home in 1994, he found a car park for the hotel in the place where his house once stood.
Mr Justice Murphy found that while Mr Presho was entitled to damages for trespass and interference with his property, it was not from the parking of cars on the house site, but from the use of a septic tank on the property for the hotel.
The judge said the equitable remedy would not be in the reinstatement of the original house, but the provision of “a comparable dwelling” on Tory Island or the open market value of a comparable dwelling.
The court heard that Mr Presho’s house was damaged by fire in unexplained circumstances on January 14, 1993. It was gradually removed in the following nine months, and by Mr Presho’s return from New Zealand in July 1994, there was no trace of it.