A judge has given a west Clare farmer two weeks to pay compensation concerning criminal damage he committed to a fuse box arising from a property dispute with his brother.
Last month, Gardai arrested John Morrissey of Clonreddan, Cooraclare the same day his mother was buried as a result of the criminal damage offence.
At Ennis District Court today, father of six children aged 25 to 13, John Morrissey (53) pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a fuse box at the home of his brother, Tom Morrissey at Alva, Cooraclare on May 5th.
When arrested and cautioned on the charge last month, John Morrissey replied: “That’s not Tom Morrissey’s f**king home.” The estimated cost of the criminal damage was put at €150 today in court and Mr Morrissey has already spent seven weeks in jail on remand for the offence after failing to secure bail last month.
The farmer has no previous convictions and Judge Patrick Durcan has now given two weeks to John Morrissey to pay compensation for the damage.
Judge Durcan told Mr Morrissey: “There are times when you have to get out of the hole you are in."
In response, Mr Morrissey, wearing a face mask, stated: “I’m not in a hole.” Judge Durcan replied: “I’m not talking about you.” In court today, solicitor for John Morrissey, Stiofan Fitxpatrick stated that there are “massive family issues” involved.
Mr Fitzpatrick stated there “is a huge context and scale" to what occurred.
Mr Fitzpatrick stated that: “Mr Morrissey is a self taught tradesman working as a farmer back in west Clare on very marginal land.
Mr Fitzpatrick stated that Mr Morrissey is a hard working man and is one of 13 siblings.
He stated: “He came back home from England with his long term partner of 28 years to west Clare.
“Between a myriad of things, he took on the family farm and liaised with his mother in relation to the transfer of that farm.
None of this happened lightly.” Mr Fitzpatrick previously told the court: “My client believes that this isn’t the property of his brother who is the complainant and he believes that this will be borne out in time when the estate is dealt with.” Mr Fitzpatrick stated that the property is owned by Mr Morrissey’s late mother.
Mr Fitzpatrick stated that John Morrissey farms all of the land surrounding the house.
Judge Durcan told the court today: “Obviously it’s a family dispute. Let’s not go there because the worst place any of us can go is inside someone’s front door. I want the compensation paid.” Judge Durcan told John Morrissey that there is a level of frustration with him.
Judge Durcan stated: “What we have to do is de-frustrate you - you are allowing the problems to overtake you.” Concerning a separate careless driving and public order charge dating from December 7th in Ennis last, Judge Durcan fined Mr Morrissey a total of €500.
Judge Durcan further remanded Mr Morrissey in custody for two weeks to re-appear before court on July 8th for the payment of compensation.