A judge has said that “war may break out again” in a land boundary dispute between two brothers in law if the State proceeds with an assault case and if convictions are recorded.
Judge Patrick Durcan made his comment before adjourning the assault case generally after hearing that “peace has broken out between all sides in the case”.
Judge Durcan made his comment at Gort District Court during a hearing where the assault charges were before the court for the ninth time.
In the case, John Grealish (aged 50) and his son, Jason (aged 29) both of Hawk Hill, Gort, were facing a charge of common assault on Damien O’Neill at Hawk Hill Gort, on February 23, 2019.
Judge Durcan previously told brothers in law, neighbours and businessmen, John Grealish and Damien O’Neill to resolve the boundary dispute in order to avoid “bile and bitterness” between them.
Solicitor for Jason Grealish, Olivia Lynch, told the court that her client was the peacemaker on the day and would be contesting the assault charge.
Ms Lynch stated that her client is not on legal aid and is paying for her to be in court, stating the case has been in court nine times.
In response, Judge Durcan said: “We are paying for peace and you can’t put a price on peace.” Ms Lynch stated that Jason Grealish, at great expense, has moved his business out of Hawk Hill to Galway.
Ms Lynch said: “He doesn’t want to be quarrelling with his family next door.” Moving to adjourn the case generally with liberty to re-enter the matters, Judge Durcan told Sgt Daithi Cronin that if the State was “to prosecute the case today and if there are convictions, people win and people lose and war is going to break out again”.
Judge Durcan said: “This has to be a court of common sense.” Solicitor for the alleged victim in the case, Damien O’Neill, William Cahir stated that his client has a huge concern that while the bagging of coal has stopped this winter at the Grealish property next door, “we have huge concern that there may be an element of ducks and drakes”.
Mr Cahir said that if there was to be evidence in the case, Mr O'Neill would say that the alleged assault took place due to the fact that he called Galway County Council to become involved concerning the coal operation.
Mr Cahir requested Judge Durcan to adjourn the case into January to allow Galway County Council provide an update on the planning enforcement issue.
Solicitor for John Grealish, John Nash, stated that “everyone is now happy with the boundaries and we are talking about something that may happen in the future. We have gone off track”.
The site is located four miles out of Gort and Mr Cahir said that being able to enjoy living in your family home is a very serious matter in Ireland and that is where Mr O’Neill is coming from.
Mr Cahir explained that the site is where Mr O’Neill’s wife grew up.
Mr Cahir said: “Compromise isn’t a problem and getting to this point where he can enjoy his home and his sense of security is of the utmost importance.”