Appeal over value of ‘disappeared’ Tory island house struck out

Neville Presho returned to island after six years away to find hotel car park on site

The Supreme Court has struck out an appeal against a €46,000 valuation placed on a man's Tory island holiday home which "disappeared" while he was abroad over a number of years.

Film maker Neville Presho, from Hollywood, Co Down, secured the valuation from the High Court in 2009, plus the costs of his lengthy legal battle over the destruction of his house on the island, off the Co Donegal coast.

He sued an adjoining hotel, alleging trespass and physical damage to the 19th century stone house after it was gradually destroyed while he was living in New Zealand between 1988 and 1994.

In his case against Ostan Thoraigh Comhlacht Teoranta and its owner Patrick Doohan, he claimed, after he returned home in 1994, he found a car park for the hotel in the place where his house once stood.


After he won in the High Court in 2009, both defendants brought appeals against that court’s ruling.

When the matter came before the Supreme Court today, it heard Mr Doohan, who was not in court, had stated he was not proceeding with his appeal. The appeal by Ostan Thoraigh Comhlacht Teoranta had been withdrawn last November.


In those circumstances, the court struck out Mr Doohan’s appeal and affirmed the High Court orders.

In its July 2009 judgment, the High Court held Mr Presho was entitled to a new house or its equivalent market value. Mr Presho’s valuer put that at €60,000 while the hotel owner’s valuer put it at €11,000 to €12,000.

Mr Justice Roderick Murphy ruled, based on the figures presented to him, the correct valuation was €46,000 and granted a stay on his finding in the event of an appeal.

While Mr Presho was entitled to damages for trespass and interference with his property arising from the use, for the hotel, of a septic tank on the property, the equitable remedy was not reinstatement of the original house but provision of “a comparable dwelling” on Tory Island or the open market value of a comparable dwelling, the judge held.

The court previously heard Mr Presho’s house was damaged by fire in unexplained circumstances on January 14th, 1993. It was gradually removed in the following nine months and, by the time of Mr Presho’s return from New Zealand in July 1994, there was no trace of it.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times