A judge who threatened to impose “a Trump solution” by ordering the building of a wall between warring Dublin neighbours has urged them to think of the spiralling legal and engineering costs involved and to try to settle their boundary disputes.
Begona Alvarez O'Neill and Lucita Pascual Sanmiguel, of 'Mullaghmore', 73 Dublin Road, Sutton, are being sued by their neighbours to the left and right – Evelyn Malone (95), who lives at No 72, and Gerard Giblin and Collette Walsh who live at No 74.
Mrs Malone, a widow, who was helped into the Circuit Civil Court in a wheelchair, claims Ms O’Neill was responsible for having 30m of a hawthorn hedge separating their properties removed in 2015.
She alleges Ms O’Neill placed plant boxes and a pergola on her property and sued for damages for personal injury and trespass together with court declarations. Mr Giblin and Ms Walsh have sued Ms O’Neill and Mr Sanmiguel for €75,000 damages for trespass and nuisance and are seeking restraints against further trespass.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane twice asked Gavin Mooney SC, who appeared with Gore and Grimes Solicitors for both sets of plaintiffs, and barrister Arthur Cunningham, who appeared with Peter Boyle Solicitors, for Ms O'Neill and Ms Sanmiguel, to leave court with their respective engineering experts and try to hammer out a solution to both sets of proceedings.
Mr Mooney told the court that the boundary dispute brought by Ms Malone against Ms O'Neill and her teenage daughter were further complicated by the fact that Ms O'Neill had brought High Court proceedings against three Travellers and three daughters of Ms Malone alleging assault and battery.
Ms O'Neill, an artist who also operates a bed and breakfast from her home, has sued Gerry, Michael and Jimmy Connors and Elaine, Jacqueline and Ruth Malone alleging that, late last August, she was assaulted by the agents of the Malone sisters as she attempted to stop part of a boundary fence being removed.
Mr Mooney said that in the ongoing High Court proceedings agreement had been reached with the Malones that there would be no interference or varying of the boundary between them and Ms O’Neill until the assault proceedings had been determined.
Mr Cunningham told the judge that while the specific boundary lines had already been agreed between the parties, there were some ongoing matters that had to be sorted with regard to trees, hedges and fences.
Ms O’Neill, in an affidavit, told the court she had lived at No 73 for 23 years and had operated her B&B, known as the Artist’s Residence, for the past three years. She outlined issues of alleged assault which are denied.
Ms Justice Linnane said the prospect of directing the building of a wall as US president Donald Trump had resolved to do on the US-Mexico border, "so the neighbours would not even have to look at each other," was becoming more attractive to the court.
She said that while she could not become involved in the High Court assault proceedings, she directed engineers Val O’Brien, for Ms O’Neill, and Gerry McGibney, for Mr Giblin and Ms Walsh, to physically set out the boundaries and report to their respective clients.
Adjourning proceedings for several weeks, the judge said it would be better for all sides if they could sort out their boundary issues rather than allow them to drag on.