West Clare farmer now in prison 4 months over family property dispute

By Gordon Deegan

A west Clare farmer and father of six children has now spent more than four months on remand in jail concerning a prosecution that arises from a property dispute with a brother.

At Ennis District Court, 53-year-old John Morrissey of Clonreddan, Cooraclare, told Judge Patrick Durcan that he has now spent “17 weeks” in jail when asked by the judge how long he has been on remand in prison.

In early May, John Morrissey was arrested by Gardaí the same day his mother was buried arising from the property row with his brother.

In the case, John Morrissey is charged with “causing significant internal and external structural damage to the home/house of Mary Morrissey and Tom Morrissey at Alva, Cooraclare” on December 13, 2019.

As part of the single criminal damage charge, John Morrissey is also charged with damaging the contents of the home/house of Mary Morrissey and Tom Morrissey.

John Morrissey – who celebrated his 53rd birthday in custody in June – is accused of demolishing the external garage of the home “and damage to the septic tank of the property belonged to Mary Morrissey and Tom Morrissey”.

Farmer remains in custody

John Morrissey remains on remand in custody as he has opted not to seek bail concerning the charge that is to go before Ennis Circuit Court.

A Book of Evidence has been served on John Morrissey and he has been returned for trial to appear at Ennis Circuit Court at the end of this month.

As he is in custody, the man’s case will be given priority on the court’s list.

Judge strikes out one minor charge

At Ennis District Court, after John Morrissey told Judge Patrick Durcan that he has been in jail for 17 weeks, he told the judge “the wheels of justice go around very slowly, but they go around”.

Judge Durcan told John Morrissey that he appeared to be in much better spirits than a previous court appearance “when you were like a briar in here and were very angry, but you are in much better humour today”.

Concerning a minor criminal damage charge against John Morrissey relating to the same family dispute, Judge Durcan struck it out stating:

This is a family dispute and arises in relation to a will. I am striking it out and this will not be in his record. Good luck to you.

Judge Durcan struck it out after it was confirmed that John Morrissey had paid €200 to the Court Discretionary Fund (CDF).

The disputed property at the centre of the row was owned by Morrissey’s late mother and she died in May.

John Morrissey farms all of the land surrounding the house and he told Ennis District Court in July: “I want the will challenged.” The court was told in July that John Morrissey’s six children are aged from 13 to 25.

He is now due to appear at Ennis Circuit Court later this month when a date will be fixed for his case.