Neighbours of 91-year-old in wheelchair agree to remove cement barrier

Neighbours of a 91-year-old widow have agreed before the High Court to remove a cement barrier which she claimed prevented her from leaving her south Dublin home.

Neighbours of 91-year-old in wheelchair agree to remove cement barrier

Neighbours of a 91-year-old widow have agreed before the High Court to remove a cement barrier which she claimed prevented her from leaving her south Dublin home.

Patricia Rochford, who claimed she was unable to leave her home at 8 Adelaide Road, got a temporary High Court injunction last week requiring the owners of the nearby property Morgan Crowe, Brid Large and Mary Irving to remove the obstruction.

At the High Court today a lawyer for one of the defendants said his client was prepared to take down the barrier, located on a laneway at the rear of the parties' properties.

The defendants own 13 Adelaide Road, which is used as an office.

Ms Rochford lives in the basement of her home, and cannot use the steps leading up to the front door of her property.

The court heard Ms Rochford, who requires the use of a wheelchair, 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.

Represented by Jim O'Callaghan SC the 91-year old claimed earlier this month that a concrete obstacle was erected by workers on the portion of the laneway near the gateway at the rear of her home.

It was claimed 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 Ms Rochford's garden and the laneway.

She could not traverse the concrete obstacle, it was claimed. She claimed she was informed that Mr Crowe claims he owns the laneway and is entitled to carry out works on it.

Ms Rochford disputes this and says that she has a right of way over the laneway.

When the matter returned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds today a solicitor John Larney for Mr Crowe that his client had sympathy for and was prepared to assist Ms Rochford in any way he could.

In reply to the judge, Mr Larney said his client was prepared to remove the barrier in front of Ms Rochford's rear gate, and this could be done over the next week.

The solicitor said that it is Mr Crowe's case that the laneway belongs to him, and many of the claims made by the plaintiff in her proceedings are contested, including the existence of a right of way over the laneway.

Ms Justice Reynolds said she had health and safety concerns about the barrier. She welcomed the undertaking by Mr Crowe to remove the barrier and said she accepted that offers had been made to assist Ms Rochford.

The judge said that had the parties dealt with matters properly in advance then a court action might well have been avoided.

The court was not in a position to resolve any issues about a right of way at this stage. That would have to be done at the full hearing, the Judge said.

The Judge added that given Ms Rochford's age the hearing of the main issue in dispute, namely and the alleged existence of a right of way, should take place as soon as possible.

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