Judge tells warring neighbours that she doesn't want to 'make situation any worse'

Judge Tells Warring Neighbours That She Doesn't Want To 'Make Situation Any Worse'
Begona Alvarez O’Neill, of 73 Dublin Road, Sutton, is one of the neighbours involved in the court dispute. Photo: Collins
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Ray Managh

A judge has told warring neighbours who have been fighting for six years over the boundary between their homes that she did not want to go back into the disputed difficulties between them.

“I don’t want to make the situation any worse than it is already. These people will have to live beside each other, and it is not helpful in this situation to hear extensive evidence of what has happened in the past,” Judge Jennifer O’Brien said in the Circuit Civil Court on Wednesday.


Judge O’Brien said instead she would concentrate on the evidence of a court-appointed independent surveyor and surveying experts on behalf of both parties as to where the court should decide on the boundary issue.

The neighbours concerned in what is scheduled for a six-day trial are sisters Renee and Jacqueline Malone, who have taken over the case of their late mother, Evelyn Malone, who died at the age of 97 during the long-drawn-out legal battle, and Begona Alvarez O’Neill and Lucita Pascual Sanmiguel.

Evelyn Malone lived at 72 Dublin Road, Sutton, and originally initiated proceedings against her next-door neighbours at 73. After a blackthorn hedge was allegedly ripped out by workmen said to be operating on behalf of Evelyn Malone, things went from bad to worse between the neighbours.

Dual High Court cases involving alleged assault with a chain saw are still ongoing between the two parties.


Judge O’Brien told barrister Shane English for the Malones and senior counsel Richard Lyons for the defendants that she would prefer not to hear repeats of historic incidents or evidence that should be before other courts.


Mr English, who appeared with Gore and Grimes Solicitors, told the court there had been unsuccessful settlement talks with Mr Lyons, who appeared with barrister Robert O’Reilly and James Wall Solicitors, and he was anxious to avoid mud-slinging by one party against the other.

Mr Lyons said one of the major issues in the breakdown on talks had been the issue of legal costs. He would be insisting on the Malones proving their case and felt they should have to give evidence and face cross-examination.

He said his clients had been unfairly and wrongly painted in a bad light throughout the proceedings and, on their behalf, he had written open correspondence to the plaintiffs with proposals to resolve the dispute. It was not acceptable that the court appointed surveyor should have the final say on where the boundary should lie.


Judge O’Brien proceeded to hear the evidence of the court appointed surveyor Dr Patrick Prendergast and said she would hear the other experts in the case.

“I think it would be more helpful to concentrate on the boundary dispute rather than what has gone on between the parties. It is a difficult trial for everybody and I am trying to be practical,” Judge O’Brien said.

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