Court rules in favour of Kellys in land dispute

Saturday 09 November 2013 07.32
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Diane Whitehead had claimed she had a long standing right of way through the laneway
Diane Whitehead had claimed she had a long standing right of way through the laneway
The judge said the decision of the Kellys not to seek their costs was a sensible and generous gesture
The judge said the decision of the Kellys not to seek their costs was a sensible and generous gesture

A circuit court judge has ruled against a woman who brought civil proceedings against Minister for State Alan Kelly and his father Thomas over a right of way to a laneway beside their home near Portroe, Co Tipperary.

Diane Whitehead had claimed she had a long standing right of way through the laneway to access land she owned, a right that stretched back 20 years.

The Kelly family rejected her claim, insisting they owned the laneway that they said was known as Kelly's lane as far back as the 1930s.

In her ruling today, Judge Petria McDonnell acknowledged this was a difficult and stressful case as the parties involved and their witnesses were neighbours.

However, she ruled against Ms Whitehead on a number of grounds.

She had not established title as the previous owners of her land had abandoned any right to the laneway, and had sought the permission of Mr Kelly Snr to use it.

In addition, Ms Whitehead did not have continuous and uninterrupted use of the laneway, as she said in her evidence.

The judge said there were periods of several years when she did not live in the property.

The judge said she did not have a right of access by necessity, as there was access to her land by another route known locally as the High Road.

The Kellys did not seek their costs, which the judge described as a sensible and generous gesture.

The judge said she hoped the parties as neighbours could reach some accommodation and that they could mend fences and live in harmony.