Farmer arrested on same day mother was buried to face new charge

By Gordon Deegan

A west Clare farmer arrested by Gardaí the same day his mother was buried last week arising from a property dispute with a brother is set to face a new charge and celebrate his 53rd birthday behind bars.

At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, John Morrissey of Clonreddan, Cooraclare appeared via video link from Limerick prison.

Sgt Aiden Lonergan told the court that a further charge is to be brought against Morrissey.

Morrissey has spent the past week on remand at Limerick prison after Judge Patrick Durcan refused bail to the man and he is now set to spend another week on remand at the prison after he was further remanded in custody today. Morrissey celebrates his 53rd birthday next Tuesday, May 19.

Morrissey is charged with causing criminal damage to a fuse box at the home of his brother, Tom Morrissey at Alva, Cooraclare, on May 5.

The Morrissey brothers’ mother was buried the same day and John Morrissey was arrested after the alleged criminal damage incident on the same day.

Sgt Lonergan told the court today that John Morrissey is also facing a number of unrelated traffic offences from a previous date.

One relates to a charge of dangerous driving, and solicitor for John Morrissey Stiofan Fitzpatrick stated that the alleged driving offences are to be contested.

Sgt Lonergan stated that the road traffic matters are listed for Friday and Judge Durcan stated that Judge Mary Larkin could list those for hearing at an early date.

In keeping with Irish Prison Service (IPS) protocol, Morrissey appeared from a room at Limerick prison wearing a face mask.

Morrissey laughed on a couple of occasions during the brief hearing via video link.

Sgt Lonergan suggested that the new charge could be brought against Morrissey at the traffic court on Friday.

However, Judge Durcan stated that there was no need to bring a prison service van specially for Morrissey and stated that he could be brought to court next Wednesday for that.

Morrissey is already 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 in court last week, Sgt John Farmer stated that after charge and caution, John Morrissey replied: “That’s not Tom Morrissey’s f**king home.”

Fitzpatrick told the court last week: “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.

“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,” he said.

Fitzpatrick stated that the property is owned by 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.”

Sgt 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 further remanded Morrissey in custody to appear before the court next Wednesday, May 20.