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

By July 9, 2020 No Comments

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