Farmer guilty of criminal damage tells judge he wants his mother’s will challenged

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A farmer has told a court he wants a will concerning a family property dispute challenged.

In May, gardaí arrested John Morrissey of Clonreddan, Cooraclare, Co Clare, on the same day his mother was buried as a result of a criminal damage offence he committed at the property that is at the centre of the dispute.

Mr Morrissey has been on remand in custody since.

Mr Morrissey (53), a father-of-six, has pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a fuse box at the home of his brother, Tom Morrissey at Alva, Cooraclare, on May 5.

When arrested and cautioned on the charge, John Morrissey replied: “That’s not Tom Morrissey’s f**king home.” The disputed property was owned by Mr Morrissey’s late mother who died in May.

John Morrissey farms all of the land surrounding the disputed property.

He told Ennis District Court yesterday: “I want the will challenged.”

In response, Judge Patrick Durcan told Mr Morrissey: “I can’t deal with that, so I can’t. Your solicitor, Stiofan Fitzpatrick, is an expert on wills.”        

Mr Fitzpatrick told the court yesterday that the criminal damage matter relates “to an ongoing family dispute. Mr Morrissey is very entrenched in relation to it.

“He has strong beliefs in relation to it. It is a historical matter. He accepts that on the date in question that he damaged the fuse box.

“He has been in custody on the matter since May 7,” Mr Fitzpatrick added.

He previously told the court that Mr Morrissey believes that the disputed house “isn’t the property of his brother who is the complainant”.

Judge Durcan said he would strike out the criminal damage matter if compensation of €200 is paid to the Court Discretionary Fund (CDF) by John Morrissey.

Mr Morrissey told the court that he would pay the money to the CDF.

Judge Durcan told John Morrissey: “I don’t know very much about this case.”

In response Mr Morrissey said: “Well, I do, your honour.”

The judge said he had a great deal of sympathy for Mr Morrissey as he has for all people who appear before him.

Judge Durcan told Mr Morrissey: “I don’t want you to have a criminal record from this.” Mr Morrissey responded by saying: “I’m not worried about my record.”

The judge said he would strike the matter out if the €200 is paid by September 2.

One of 13 siblings from a well-known west Clare family, Mr Morrissey is a self-taught tradesman working as a farmer in west Clare on very marginal land.

Mr Morrissey has remained on remand in custody at Portlaoise prison concerning a separate charge.

Mr Fitzpatrick told the court yesterday that he has received no instructions from Mr Morrissey to make a bail application on his behalf.

A hearing concerning that case has yet to be heard at Ennis Circuit Court.

Irish Independent

Scottish man who attempted to lodge counterfeit €570k bank draft in Dublin is jailed for two years

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A Scottish man whose “cack-handed” attempt to lodge a counterfeit €570,000 bank draft was spotted by an eagle -eyed bank teller has been jailed for two years.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Jagpal Alsingh (50) had been a hardworking family man whose life “unravelled.”

Alsingh, of Albion Road, Glasgow pleaded guilty to having a counterfeit bank draft in the sum of €568,100 in his custody at Bank of Ireland, O Connell Street on September 2, 2019 and producing a fake bank draft at Dublin Airport on May 14, 2019.

Alsingh, who has no previous convictions, has been in custody since his arrest last September.

Defence counsel, Padraig Dwyer SC, said Alsingh and his wife had run a laundry business together until they separated. Alsingh then began a new relationship and started working as a “consultant.”

He said his client’s life “went off the rails” and he now finds himself imprisoned in a foreign jurisdiction having been involved in “a very cack handed exercise”.

Mr Dwyer said Alsingh appeared to be a hard-working family man whose life has “unravelled.” He said he seems to have reached rock bottom and hopefully this will be a wake up call.

Judge Martin Nolan said it appeared Alsingh needed money on the day and procured some forged bank drafts which he attempted to lodge just before closing time but a “competent official” spotted it was not genuine.       

He noted Alsingh’s guilty plea, co-operation, testimonials and previously productive life. He took into account that to be put in prison at Alsingh’s age is traumatic.

Judge Nolan imposed a two year sentence which he backdated to when Alsingh went into custody.

Detective Gerard Carmondy told Michael Hourigan BL, prosecuting, that Bank of Ireland contacted gardai in relation to an attempt by Alsingh to lodge a draft at Bank of Ireland Dublin Airport on May 14, 2019. The draft was queried by the bank and retained. No loss was incurred.

The court heard the investigation found that Alsingh had opened a Bank of Ireland account in February 2019 with a fake utility bill to provide him with an address.

Det Gda Carmody said Alsingh was due to meet officials at Bank of Ireland on September 2, 2019 and was arrested when he arrived later that day. He was searched and an identical bank draft in the same amount of money was found on him.

Alsingh admitted setting up the bank account with false documentation but initially told gardai he was unaware the drafts were fake and suggested he had been tricked into using them.

Det Gda Carmondy agreed with Mr Dwyer that the bank teller told gardai that the draft “did not look real” as the colour was off. She said Alsingh had come in late “trying to rush her” and she knew something “dodgy” was going on.

The draft was later analysed and found to be missing a hologram as well as using the incorrect ink and colouring.

Irish Independent

Dutch man (43) is charged with cash laundering

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Dutch man (43) is charged with cash laundering

A Dutch man with an address in Andorra has been remanded in custody following his arrest for money laundering at an upmarket Dublin 4 office block.

He was arrested on Thursday by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB). Some €200,000 was allegedly seized.

Follow-up searches were carried out at a premises in the Dublin 4 area. An additional significant quantity of cash and a number of gold bars were seized.

Harm Stachouwer (43), of Sant Antony Avenue in Andorra, was charged at Irishtown Garda Station yesterday.

He was then taken to appear before Judge John O’Leary at the evening sitting of Dublin District Court.

He was charged under Section 7 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 for having €200,000 in crime proceeds at Connaught House on Burlington Road.

There has been no indication as to how he will plead, and Mr Stachouwer was remanded in custody to appear next Thursday.

Irish Independent

€70,000 settlement for girl who fell on laneway near her home

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A High Court judge has approved a €70,000 settlement for a young girl who fell on an allegedly potholed and “patched” laneway near her home in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford. The settlement was made to Kristen Liddy against Longford County Council as a result of the accident which occurred in May 2010 when Ms Liddy, then aged almost seven, was crossing a laneway between her home at Devine Crescent and the fire station in Edgeworthstown. It was claimed Ms Liddy tripped and fell forward onto her face, chipping her front teeth and suffering cuts to her right check, right upper eyebrow and left knee. She later had the affected teeth capped and has been left with some minor scarring.

Through her father Frank, Ms Liddy, now aged 16, of Devine Crescent, Edgeworthstown, sued the council as a result of the accident.

On Monday, her counsel applied to Mr Justice Garrett Simons to approve a €70,000 offer by the council to settle the case. The €70,000 comprised €64,112 general damages with the rest for special damages and was very close to the full value of the case, he said.

Reports provided to the judge, who inspected Ms Liddy’s facial injuries, indicated that scars to her right cheek and forehead had healed well. While the scars are permanent, a plastic surgeon expressed the view they are minor and presented at most a cosmetic blemish rather than a cosmetic deformity. Describing the €70,000 offer as “generous” and close to the full value of the case, the judge said he was satisfied to approve it. This was effectively a trip and fall case and all such cases carried risk, he said.

Polish foreman given Post-it detailing pay cut wins case against his employer

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Polish foreman given Post-it detailing pay cut wins case against his employer

A foreman who was given details of a pay cut on a Post-it note has won a case against his employer.

The Polish national got the maximum award of four weeks’ pay – worth €2,566 – payable under laws governing workers’ information entitlements.

He told a hearing at the Workplace Relations Commission that he had not been notified in writing of changes to his terms of employment.

The man, who is not named but was employed at the company from 2001, said he returned to work after his Christmas break on January 7 this year.

At 6.45pm, his line manager asked him to go to the canteen to meet the personnel manager, referred to as Ms A in a new adjudication decision.

He said she handed him a Post-it that gave details of a reduction in wages from €750 to €641 as he was being demoted from the role of foreman to line leader the following Monday.

This represented a 14pc fall in his pay. Two days later, he objected to the pay cut and revision of his role in an email to the personnel manager.

He said he did not get a response so made a complaint to the commission.

The foreman was paid the lower rate in January.

He told the hearing he felt abandoned by his employer as he had been very loyal while working there.

Adjudication officer Patsy Doyle said he was put at a distinct disadvantage and the fact he was ignored trying to counter the action was unhelpful.

Irish Independent

TV exposé crèche in legal row with insurers

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TV exposé crèche in legal row with insurers

A crèche chain which was at the centre of a damning undercover exposé has issued legal proceedings against its insurers.

The case is understood to relate to a dispute over the insurance provided to Hyde and Seek Childcare Limited and whether it will cover anticipated lawsuits in the wake of an RTÉ documentary.

The programme, broadcast in July, exposed the mistreatment of children, overcrowding and safety breaches at the Dublin chain.

Several families are expected to issue lawsuits following the revelations.

One law firm, Coleman Legal Partners, says it is representing 50 families who are contemplating proceedings.

Hyde and Seek initiated proceedings against two companies on Thursday, brokerage firm Padraic Smith & Co and insurance firm Ironshore Europe DAC.

The matter was briefly before Mr Justice David Barniville in the High Court and is due to return to the court next week.

In a statement, the crèche chain said: “The Hyde and Seek crèches are appropriately and fully insured. We cannot comment on the matter which is before the courts.”

The Hyde and Seek chain is run by husband and wife Peter and Anne Davy and has facilities in Glasnevin, Tolka Road and Shaw Street.

Ahead of the broadcast, Hyde and Seek announced Ms Davy would be stepping back from “all front-line work” at the company’s crèche on Tolka Road. It also said external consultants would be called in to look at the service.

The programme showed how milk for children was diluted with water, while cheap noodles were served instead of a vegetable dish advertised on a menu given to parents.

It revealed children were held down to make them go to sleep, shouted at and left to cry. Cramped sleeping conditions were also exposed.

Footage showed how one child was left in his high chair for up to 40 minutes after feeding time. There were also breaches of safety, including blocked fire exits.

Irish Independent

Ireland star James McClean awarded €71k for comment by ex-UUP councillor Chris McGimpsey

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A former Belfast councillor who falsely referred to Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean as a “super Provo” is to pay out £63,000 (around €71,000), the High Court heard today.

The settlement covers damages and legal costs of the Stoke City player’s defamation action against Chris McGimpsey.

A judge was told Mr McGimpsey, a former Ulster Unionist Party representative, will make the payment in two instalments.

He has already issued an unreserved apology for unfounded comments made “in the heat of the moment” during a radio programme debate.

Mr McClean, 30, sued following the ex-councillor’s appearance on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show in November 2018.

The court heard previously that the remarks were then repeated and the focus of commentary on social media.

A statement was read out on Mr McGimpsey’s behalf at that stage, setting out how he had referred to the Derry-born winger as being a ‘super Provo’.

It stressed that he did not intend to communicate any affiliation between Mr McClean and the Provisional IRA, but accepted the remarks were false and completely inaccurate.

The case had been adjourned for discussions on the level of damages.

In court today counsel for Mr McClean announced a final outcome in the case.

Peter Girvan said: “The claim relates to publication by the defendant during the Nolan Show last November, in which he made a statement which defamed the plaintiff by affiliating the plaintiff with the Provisional IRA.”

He confirmed his client has accepted Mr McGimpsey’s apology, and the terms of an agreement reached on the outstanding issues.

Mr Girvan went on: “The defendant has agreed to pay £63,000, in respect of costs and compensation, in two instalments.”

Neither Mr McClean nor Mr McGimpsey were in court for the final resolution.

But Mr Justice Maguire acknowledged the efforts made to secure the settlement.

Belfast Telegraph

Widow of postman who died after being knocked off his bicycle while on his round awarded €250,000

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Widow of postman who died after being knocked off his bicycle while on his round awarded €250,000

THE widow of a 39-year-old postman who died after being knocked off his bicycle while on his post round has settled a High Court action over his death for €250,000.

Tanya Parker had sued her husband Damian’s employer, An Post over the accident eight years ago.

Her counsel Michael J McMahon told the court the car driver had just got a mere glance of Damian Parker before he emerged out of a road and in to the driver’s path.

The postman, a father of twins, was delivering mail in the in Ennis Road area of Limerick at the time of the accident on May 26, 2011.

Mrs Parker, of Oakwood, Old Singland Road, Limerick, had sued An Post and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland as a result of the accident.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that proceedings against the driver and owner of the car could be struck out.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to provide a safe system of work and an alleged failure to ensure the postman would be safe while carrying out his work while delivering post.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to ensure Mr Parker wore a helmet while cycling his bicycle in the course of his job. 

The claims were denied.

The court heard Mr Parker’s cycling helmet was in the pannier of his bike.  At the  inquest into Mr Parker’s death a few years ago, the coroner said there was no evidence in this case to suggest the nature of the injuries sustained by Mr Parker would have been different if he was wearing a helmet but added that cyclists should be encouraged to wear helmets.

Counsel for the widow also told the court a person who witnessed the entire accident said in a statement there was nothing the driver could have done. The gardai and PSV inspector came to the same conclusion.

Counsel  said Mr Parker was not wearing a helmet when he hit the car and a ladder which was on the roof. He suffered brain injuries and died.

Mr Justice Cross approved the settlement and offered his sympathy to the family.

Irish Independent

Couple with €32m debt refused to move from ‘trophy home’ to cheaper property, court told

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Couple with €32m debt refused to move from ‘trophy home’ to cheaper property, court told

Nama has won the right to repayment of €32m from a property investor who refused to move from a “trophy home” to a less valuable property.

A High Court judge ruled Nama’s demand for the outstanding money, on loans for property investments, was valid and lawful.

But a finding whether Nama can enforce a further €3.5m loan secured on the family home of Carol and John Morrissey at Palmerston Road, Dublin 6, would be “pre-emptive” as Nama has not so far sought to enforce that loan, Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh held.

She adjourned the making of final orders for two weeks. Mr Morrissey said an appeal will be brought.

In dismissing the case by the couple, representing themselves, the judge noted that Nama claimed Mr Morrissey had in 2013 rejected a suggestion they relocate to a less valuable property on Lower Churchtown Road, insisting they were entitled to continue living on Palmerston Road.

A Nama agent had said he explained to Mr Morrissey Palmerstown Road would be considered to be a “trophy home” as it was valued in 2013 between €1.8m to €2m while the Churchtown property was valued at €800,000.

The agent said he questioned how “optically” it would look to the taxpayer if Nama was to allow Mr Morrissey and his family remain there whilst owing them more than €25m in residual debt – the debt remaining after the investment properties were sold – and more than €4.7m outstanding on the loan secured on their home.

The couple had claimed damages over alleged various unlawful acts by Nama, including taking enforcement action over the loans and appointing receivers over properties.

Mr Morrissey got loans of some €27m from Irish Nationwide Building Society between 2004 and 2006 in connection with acquiring seven investment properties.

The loans were secured by mortgages over the properties, there were problems with repayments as early as 2006 and the loans were in serious default when acquired in 2010 by Nama.

In 2014, Nama called in the loans by demanding the then outstanding sum of €32m. When that was not paid, it appointed receivers who sold the investment properties, reducing the debt to €25m.

A loan of €3.75m borrowed in 2005 to buy the Palmerston Road property, secured on the house, is also in default but Nama has not so far decided to enforce against that loan.

In their case against Nama, Capita Assets Services (Ireland) Ltd and various State parties, the couple argued Nama was not entitled to call in the loans and also sought a declaration Nama does not have valid security over the family home.

The defendants disputed the claims. Nama counter-claimed for final judgment.

Irish Independent