Human waste ‘new low’ in dispute

20-year feud between Kerry neighbours ‘spiralling’, says judge Circuit Civil Court, Killarney.

Human waste ‘new low’ in dispute

In a dispute between neighbour landowners, an 82-year-old woman put a bucket of human excrement onto a neighbour’s land.

The Circuit Civil Court, in Killarney, heard that a stone wrapped in a “manure bag” had been put down a manhole on the woman’s property, blocking the plumbing. Photographs of the blue bucket “and its contents” were handed to court.

Judge John Hannan asked why it was necessary to photograph the elderly woman disposing of a bucket of excrement, saying a 20-year dispute seems to be “spiralling out of control”.

The case about a rickety shed and access for maintenance of a wall was being finalised from a previous sitting. Plaintiffs Thomas and Anne Spillane, a brother and sister from Knockavota, Milltown Co Kerry, claimed that Owen Mangan, of Kilderry, Milltown, had erected an infirm shed overhanging their property.

They also claimed there was run-off from a downpipe and that they had been prevented from accessing an exterior wall to maintain it.

In October, Mr Mangan’s counterclaim was dismissed and orders made in favour of the Spillanes. However, yesterday, the court was told by Mr Mangan’s counsel of “a very serious, unsavoury incident, involving human excrement”, on November 2.

Anne Spillane said her toilet became blocked a week after the last court sitting and they resorted to a commode. She said she decided “the best thing” was to put the contents onto a nearby slurry pit belonging to Mr Mangan.

“Himself and his daughter rushed in and took our photographs and he said ‘take what’s in the bucket’. In less than five minutes, a guard was on the scene,” said Ms Spillane.

On November 3, Mr Spillane discovered a manure bag, and a stone inside it, sitting in the pipe, despite there being “a cover on the manhole and two cement blocks on top of that”, Ms Spillane said.

Caoilte O’Connor, barrister for Mr Mangan, said he had no notice of any stone from the other side, and said this was “a fabrication”.

“Do you deny that you had a bucket of human excrement and that you poured it on my client’s land?” Mr O’Connor asked Ms Spillane, who replied that she was not allowed put it into the slurry pit. She said Mr Mangan had bullied herself and her brother for the last 20 years.

Owen Mangan, who is in his 50s, denied putting the stone in the sewer, and said the Spillanes were on his property and he asked his daughter to take a picture of Ms Spillane and “get what’s in the bucket”.

Judge Hannan said “acts of neighbourliness do not comprise of taking photographs at 6.30pm of people disposing of excrement because of a block in plumbing — how that block occurred, I have no idea”.

Judge Hannan initially awarded all costs in favour of the plaintiff, but later changed his mind. The sides will have to communicate, he said. Previous orders are to be complied with.

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