Neighbours of 91-year-old woman agree to remove barrier
Posted on 25th June 2019 at 21:22
Wheelchair user had claimed she could not leave home due to 9 to 12-inch step in back lane
Neighbours of a 91-year-old widow have agreed before the High Court to remove a cement barrier which she claimed prevented her 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 on Tuesday, 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.
Ms Rochford, who requires the use of a wheelchair, leaves her home via a door at the rear and can access Adelaide Road only via a laneway at the back of her property.
Represented by Jim O’Callaghan SC, she claimed earlier this month 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 Mrs Rochford’s garden and the laneway.
She could not traverse the concrete obstacle, it was claimed. She claimed she was informed 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 on Tuesday, John Larney, a solicitor for Mr Crowe, said his client had sympathy for and was prepared to assist Ms Rochford in any way he could.
Mr Larney told the judge 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 Mr Crowe maintains the laneway belongs to him. He said 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 and welcomed the undertaking by Mr Crowe to remove it. She accepted that offers had been made to assist Ms Rochford.
Had the parties dealt with matters properly in advance, then a court action might well have been avoided, she said.
The court could not resolve any issues about a right of way at this stage and that would have to be done at the full hearing, she added.
Given Ms Rochford’s age, the hearing of the main issue in dispute, the alleged existence of a right of way, should take place as soon as possible, she said.
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