Neighbours urged to take mediation

A judge has told warring neighbours they should engage in mediation in a bid to solve what she described as the “deeply serious and implacable problems” they face living next door to each other.

Judge Alison Lindsay threw out €38,000 damages claims brought by one next-door neighbour against the other for alleged harassment and intimidation, and refused to make any orders restraining the activities of either of them.

She said neither side, whom she described as fine people, had proven their case, and thus made no order.

Each party will now have to bear their own costs, which are estimated to run into tens of thousands in both cases following a 13-year war between both families and a bitter two-day court hearing.

Mary and Eddie McBride, both aged in their 80s, and next-door neighbours Michael and Marian Hanway had accused each other of a war of intimidation and harassment and each sued the other for damages of €38,000 and injunctive restraints on their future behaviour.

Marian Hanway, a nurse, and Michael, a carpenter who now works with a security firm, live at 38 Villa Park Gardens, Navan Rd, Dublin. The McBrides live at No 40.

The Hanways sued the McBrides for emotional suffering, harassment and intimidation, trespass, and deliberate camera surveillance of the comings and goings at their home.

The McBrides, in a counter claim, alleged similar behaviour, apart from camera surveillance, against the Hanways, as well as assault, noise pollution, and having put them in fear.

The court heard that things began festering in 1998 when the Hanways returned from a holiday to find that a boundary wall separating the neighbours’ back gardens had been raised by the McBrides by two blocks.

Barrister Pat O’Brien told Judge Lindsay that, after a falling out, the McBrides twice brought Michael Hanway to court where, on each occasion, he was convicted, fined, and bound to the peace for two years.

The Hanways claimed the McBrides secretly recorded video tapes of their back garden and driveway. During a fractious court hearing, the Hanways also accused them of a “tyranny of intimidation”.

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