A judge has made a brief unscheduled stop in the bedroom of a Gort woman as part of a fact-finding mission concerning the woman’s noise pollution row with a Christian Church.
Judge Patrick Durcan accompanied by his registrar, a local Garda and a court reporter, entered the bedroom of Sandra Broderick as part of the judge’s judicial field trip into the noise pollution row.
Ms Broderick lives above a large unit operated by the Assembly of God church in Gort and she is bringing a case to Gort District Court under the Environmental Protection Agency Act seeking to end the noise disruption to her life by the loud amplified music and drums coming from church members a number of days each week.
Solicitor for the Church’s pastor, Pastor Mauri Fetoza, Colman Sherry suggested to Judge Durcan in court earlier when the case was called that he should visit the church building to give him a better understanding of the noise issues concerned.
Judge Durcan agreed and during his short lunchtime visit to the Church at The Grove, Kinnincha Rd in Gort, Ms Broderick made an impromptu request that Judge Durcan also view her apartment overhead in order to understand its proximity to the Church.
Crossing the threshold into Ms Broderick’s apartment, the reticent judge said to Ms Broderick “Sorry, this is a very unfair invasion” and Ms Broderick replied: ‘Not at all’.
Ms Broderick’s two floor apartment is configured in such a way that her bedroom is the first room to be seen on entering the apartment at the end of her short hallway with her living quarters situated overhead.
Ms Broderick escorted Judge Durcan along with his registrar, the Garda and the court reporter into her bedroom with Mr Sherry and Pastor Mauri following behind in the hallway.
In the bedroom, Ms Broderick told Judge Durcan: “This is my own bedroom so it is directly over the unit.”
Judge Durcan asked what kind of floor she had and Ms Broderick replied: "I don’t know.”
The small group remained in Ms Broderick's bedroom for 25 seconds before Judge Durcan told the rowing parties outside Ms Broderick’s apartment that he wanted to see a compromise in the dispute.
Judge Durcan said: “I have to make a decision in relation to this and I will. The wisdom in my view is that the parties get together and see if they can compromise matters.”
Earlier in court, Judge Durcan urged the Church "to do the Christian thing" and reach a compromise with Ms Broderick over the amplification and the drums.
The Church has been operating in Gort - known as ‘Little Brazil’ - for the past 17 years with its mainly Brazilian congregation numbering around 150.
There is seating for around 100 people in the large unit.
The parties returned to the unit where the Church services are held and Ms Broderick said: “We have no issue with the Church being here at all. It is just too loud.”
“I’m at the age now where I am thinking of having a family but I couldn’t do that with the noise and that should never be the case in a residential area.”
Judge Durcan told Pastor Mauri that he wanted a reduction in the noise level for this Sunday’s service and departed with his registrar. The church has planning permission to hold services in the unit.
After Judge Durcan departed, Pastor Mauri and Ms Broderick agreed that they would meet up on Sunday to agree on noise levels that would be amenable to both.
Speaking outside the Church, Ms Broderick said: “We will compromise with the Church - to allow amplification but to a certain degree.”
She said: “Currently it is very bad. We can’t sleep. It is very irritating. For the future, if I do think of renting the place out or having a family here, I can’t.”
She added: "I am not putting up with the drums but that will be up to the judge to decide if they will be allowed or not.”
Her neighbour, Tony Powell said: “I put ear defenders on (such as) you would wear on a construction site when the service is on.”
Pastor Mauri said that the Church service is very important for bringing all of the families together.
Judge Durcan adjourned the case for finalisation to Ennis District Court next Wednesday.