Supreme Court to rule on long-running Lissadell House dispute today

Legal costs in the bitter dispute are expected to reach €6 million

The ancestral home of the Gore-Booths, Lissadell,  in Co Sligo, made famous by W
.
B Yeats, has been the subject of a dispute between its owners and Sligo County Council over right-of-way access.

The ancestral home of the Gore-Booths, Lissadell, in Co Sligo, made famous by W . B Yeats, has been the subject of a dispute between its owners and Sligo County Council over right-of-way access.

Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 01:01


One of the longest and most expensive property disputes in the history of the State will end today, with the Supreme Court expected to issue judgment in the case of Lissadell House.

The ancestral home of the Gore-Booths in Co Sligo, made famous by WB Yeats, has been the subject of a dispute between its owners and Sligo County Council over right-of-way access.

The case has already been the subject of a 58-day hearing at the High Court. It centres on a decision by Sligo County Council to grant four access routes through the estate, including one passing just yards from the front door of the property.

On December 1st, 2008, Sligo County Council passed a resolution that it “amend the current County Development Plan to include in it a provision for the preservation of the public rights of way along routes through the Lissadell Estate”.

The historic estate was bought by barrister couple Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy for €4.55 million in 2003. They spent millions restoring it before opening it to the public.

They said they could not grant an untrammelled right of way for reasons of security, insurance and maintenance.

As a result of the council’s decision, the couple closed the estate which was attracting 40,000 visitors a year. They also laid off 11 local workers.

At the High Court, attempts to block a right-of-way access were rejected. The couple claimed there were no existing rights-of-way, but Mr Justice McMahon ruled four public routes existed and should continue to be used during daylight hours, as applied in the past.

They have also appealed his order awarding the estimated €6 million costs against them.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case today.