Farmer arrested on same day as mother’s burial over property dispute with brother

By Gordon Deegan

A 52-year old west Clare farmer was arrested by Gardaí the same day as his mother was buried this week arising from a property dispute with a brother, a court has heard.

At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, May 6, John Morrissey of Clonreddan, Cooraclare appeared charged with causing criminal damage to a fuse box at the home of his brother, Tom Morrissey at Alva, Cooraclare on Tuesday, May 5.

The Morrissey brothers’ mother was buried the same day and solicitor for John Morrissey, Stiofan Fitzpatrick told the court today: “This man’s mother was only buried yesterday and he was also arrested yesterday.”

Judge Patrick Durcan told John Morrissey to sit up straight in the dock of the court and told Mr Morrissey “you’re not in a lounge bar”.

Fitzpatrick stated that while John Morrissey’s demeanor may seem inappropriate to the court, “it is one where he is actively grieving”.

Morrissey is charged with damaging the door of the fuse box and smashing the fuse from the fuse box at the home of Tom Morrissey and left the house with no electricity on Tuesday, May 5.

Giving evidence of arrest, charge and caution, sergeant John Farmer stated that after charge and caution, John Morrissey replied: “That’s not Tom Morrissey’s home.”

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Fitzpatrick stated: “It is obvious that this is a family dispute and a family matter and there is a lot of tension and strong feeling in relation to that.”

He added: “Obviously, the reply after caution isn’t one that you would normally expect but it is obviously what my client believes and he is being up-front about it.”

Fitzpatrick stated that “this is the basis of a lot of these issues”.

He stated: “My client believes that this isn’t the property of his brother who is the complainant and he believes that this will be borne out in time when the estate is dealt with.”

Serious allegation

Judge Durcan stated that there is a serious allegation against the accused in court.

Fitzpatrick stated: “There is a significant background and context to this.”

Fitzpatrick stated that the property is owned by Mr Morrissey’s late mother. He stated:

We don’t know who that property has been passed onto. There is no information in relation to that.

Sergeant Farmer told the court: “The alleged injured party, Tom Morrissey has made a statement stating that he has resided by himself in the property for the past 12 years.”

Fitzpatrick stated that this will be strenuously disputed by John Morrissey.

Fitzpatrick stated that John Morrissey farms all of the land surrounding the house.

Judge Durcan said: “There can be family rows and things can happen and they can happen at times of death.”

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Judge Durcan rejected John Morrissey’s application for bail and remanded him in custody to appear via video-link at Ennis District Court next Wednesday.

Sergeant Farmer stated that the family has requested that John Morrissey not be remanded to Limerick prison as he has two two siblings who are both prison officers and they would cross paths at Limerick prison.

However, Judge Durcan stated that he is bound to remand the accused to Limerick prison and remanded him there until next Wednesday when he will appear before court via video link.