Mother sues son in row over ownership of family home

Son alleged to have broken lock on front door in her absence and changed locks

In the High Court Ms Justice O’Malley granted an application for permission for to short service of proceedings to be served against Mr and Ms Fitzpatrick. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.

In the High Court Ms Justice O’Malley granted an application for permission for to short service of proceedings to be served against Mr and Ms Fitzpatrick. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.

Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 01:01

RAY MANAGH

A woman in her 70s has launched High Court proceedings against her son and daughter-in-law who it is alleged have taken occupation and are refusing to leave her home.

Elizabeth Stanley lives with her husband Jim and their family at Ballacolla, Portlaoise, Co Laois. She has lived at the farm for the last 50 years.

Last Saturday she claims her son Patrick Joseph Fitzpatrick (46) gained entry, when she was absent, after breaking the front door lock. It is also alleged a locksmith fitted new locks on the doors during the Stanleys’ absence. Yesterday, Peter Bland for Ms Stanley told Judge Iseult O’Malley that Mr Fitzpatrick, his wife Áine and their two young children were occupying the property and were refusing to leave.

Mr Fitzpatrick has claimed he is co-owner of the property which his mother disputes.

On Sunday the court heard that Mr Fitzpatrick got a locksmith to change internal locks.

Mr Fitzpatrick is a son from Ms Stanley’s marriage to the late Francis Fitzpatrick, who died in 1970. The court heard that she had lived on there and held sole beneficial occupation of the farm, which had been registered in the late Mr Fitzpatrick’s name since then. She married Jim Stanley in 1976.

Mr Bland said Mr Fitzpatrick, who has not lived at the property since 1984 when he went to college, previously took proceedings against his mother seeking an interest in the property, but the High Court struck out his claim.

Ms Justice O’Malley granted an application by Mr Bland for permission to serve short service of proceedings against Mr and Ms Fitzpatrick. The application was made on an ex-parte basis, where only one side was represented in court.