A 91-year-old widow who uses a wheelchair is unable to leave her south Dublin home after the owners of neighbouring property erected a 9-12 inch high concrete barrier at the rear of the property, the High Court has heard.
A judge granted Patricia Rochford a temporary High Court injunction requiring the owners of the nearby property Morgan Crowe, Brid Large and Mary Irving to remove the obstruction.
The court heard that Mrs Rochford has lived at a terraced house at 8 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2 all her life. The defendants of Rathgar Avenue, Dublin 6, own 13 Adelaide Road which is used as an office.
Due to health and mobility issues Mrs Rochford lives in the basement, and cannot use the steps leading up to the front door of her home.
In order to go out shopping or on excursions with family and friends she must leave via a door at the rear of her home, and can only access to Adelaide Road itself via a laneway at the back of her property.
Jim O'Callaghan SC for the 91-year old, told the High Court that earlier this month a concrete obstacle was erected by workers on the portion of the laneway near the gateway between the rear of her house and her back garden.
Counsel said the works, which included the putting down of brickwork and concrete on the laneway, were carried out on behalf of Mr Crowe, and there was a 9 to 12-inch step between Mrs Rocharford's garden and the laneway.
Effect on quality of life
Because Mrs Rochford is wheelchair reliant she cannot traverse the concrete obstacle. This has a detrimental effect on her quality of life, and she cannot go on simple excursions, counsel said.
Counsel said that a solicitor who had acted on her behalf attended at her home and told her that Mr Crowe was the owner of the laneway and was entitled to carry on works there.
The solicitor told her that "her hands were tied" in relation to objecting to the works on the laneway. To Mrs Rochford's enormous surprise the solicitor then said he was acting for Mr Crowe and he might have a conflict of interest and his advice might not be to her benefit.
She disputes the defendant's claim of ownership of the laneway and says she has a right of way over the laneway, which can be used by both vehicles and pedestrians.
Counsel said Mrs Rochford then obtained the services of another solicitor. She then discovered that in January 2019 the defendants had registered themselves as owners of the laneway.
In a sworn statement she said that nobody had ever asserted ownership of the laneway and believes the claim is based on a claim for adverse possession and does not understand the basis upon which the ownership of the laneway came to be registered.
The court heard that in correspondence solicitors acting on behalf of the defendants deny any wrongdoing, and said they were prepared to do anything to assist Mrs Rochford.
Following submissions Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington granted Ms Rochford an interim injunction to remove the concrete barrier preventing the 91-year-old from getting access from her home to the laneway.
The injunction was granted on an ex-parte basis, where only one side was represented in court. The judge said that based on the evidence before the court she was satisfied to make the temporary order.
The matter will return before the court next week.