Donard couple without running water for months sue relatives

Action brought in the High Court today

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Donard couple without running water for months sue relatives

The case was heard at the Court of Appeal in the Four Courts

A couple whose home has been without running water since September after a JCB destroyed a pump house serving the property have brought High Court proceedings against their neighbours and relatives. 

The action has been brought by Anthony and Kathleen Hogan of Mullica Lower, Donard, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow against Kevin Lawlor Senior and his son Kevin Junior, also of Mullica Lower, Donard, Dunlavin. 

Mrs Hogan and Mr Lawlor Senior are siblings, the court heard. 

At the High Court today, Friday, December 7, Ronan Lupton Bl instructed by Clarke Jeffers Solicitors, for the Hogans said it is his client's belief, but they cannot say for certain, that Mr Lawlor senior demolished the pumphouse.

Since the incident, Mr Hogan says Mr Lawlor Snr has taken steps to impede anyone trying to restore water to their home and has erected a steel fence effectively blocking access to the site of the pumphouse.

Counsel said the pumphouse was located on Mr Lawlor's property over which the Hogans say they have a right of way.

In a sworn statement, Mr Hogan said his brother-in-law has a "very unpleasant disposition".   

He said that "all members of the extended Lawlor family, if they were honest, live in fear of Kevin Snr" because of his "aggressive and unpredictable nature, particularly when he is drunk."  

On the night the pumphouse was destroyed, Mr Lawlor senior was found by members of the Gardai driving another vehicle at speed across as self-made pathway at the rear of the Hogan's property, Mr Hogan said. 

He said Mr Lawlor was very intoxicated at the time. 

Workers hired by the Hogans were told by Mr Lawlor Snr that "the pump was his", had "nothing to do with the Hogans" and would not allow them to approach the site. 

He said that prior to the incident Mr Lawlor Snr told him in a threatening manner he would demolish the pumphouse, without giving a reason.  

Mr Hogan said Mr Lawlor Snr has been aggressive to the Hogan family and on one occasion while intoxicated kicked in their door and stormed down to the Hogans'  bedroom 

Mr Lawlor Jnr has also been aggressive towards the Hogans, including calling to their home and ringing the doorbell of their home in the early hours of the morning, Mr Hogan said. 

Counsel said that while his clients have done all they can they are unable to resolve matters with the defendants. They have had to rely on "the kindness of others" in regards to the situation with water. 

They have to shower in their son's house and have had to collect rainwater in drums and from a local stream so they can flush their toilet. 

In their action, the Hogans seek various injunctions against their neighbours and relatives including orders that the Lawlors cease harassing them,  allow them access to their lands and over the right of way.

They also seek an order preventing the Lawlors from blocking the Hogan's agents from restoring the well and pump house, providing the Hogans home with water. 

They further seek an injunction directing the Lawlors to provide the Hogans with immediate access together with all reasonable assistance to reconnect the water supply to their home. 

The incidents had affected the Hogans' health as well as being a serious nuisance.

Counsel said that his clients had taken legal steps, but added that a person who attempted to serve a legal letter on the defendants had been intimidated and threatened by Mr Lawlor Snr. 

The server's vehicle was also followed by a jeep, containing the Lawlors, driven at speed, counsel said.  

At the High Court on Friday Mr Justice Tony O Connor granted Mr Lupton permission to serve short notice, on an ex parte basis, of the proceedings on the Lawlors.

The Judge adjourned the matter to next week's sitting of the court.