02 Dec 2021

Estate of deceased FG councillor John Bailey halts alleged trespasser from spraying weed killer on Kildare farmland

Case before High Court in Dublin

Estate of deceased FG councillor halts alleged trespasser from spraying weed killer on Kildare farmland

The Four Courts, Dublin

The estate of deceased Fine Gael Councillor John Bailey has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing an alleged trespasser on 100 acres of farmland from spreading "poisonous weedkiller" on the property. 

The personal representative of Mr Bailey's estate has brought proceedings against Francis Tiernan in relation to 100 acres of farmland at Castlewarden on the Dublin-Kildare border.

The estate, Darren Lehane Bl, instructed by solicitor Richard Hammond, said, claims that the lands belong to Mr Bailey, but that Mr Tiernan has been trespassing on it since April of this year.

Counsel told Mr Justice Michael Quinn on Tuesday that the dispute had a long history. A contract for the sale for the lands had been entered into between the parties in 2006 for €4.6m.

The sale was never completed resulting in High Court proceedings, for alleged breach of contract, being brought against Mr Tiernan. In 2013 the High Court ordered that Mr Bailey be paid €1.2m in damages by Mr Tiernan, counsel said.

In 2018 Mr Tiernan sued Mr Bailey, and filed a 'Lis Pendens'  with the Property Registration Authority in respect of the lands. Counsel said this action has not been progressed by Mr Tiernan, counsel said. 

Counsel said last April Mr Tiernan unlawfully entered the lands, which he says have been used with the consent of the late Mr Bailey by another party to graze sheep.

Counsel said that Mr Tiernan, who has refused to leave the property, has used machinery to carry out works, and in recent days has also burned scrub on the lands. 

Counsel said a sign was also erected on the lands directing that all animals and feeding equipment be removed as Mr Tiernan was going to "spray weed killer which may be poisonous," in the coming days.

Counsel said the estate fears that the application of week killer could have "disastrous consequences for the lands."

Mr Tiernan had not responded to the estate's demands that he leave the property, counsel said.

The court also heard that the name of Mr Tiernan, with addresses at Longfield Road, Forkhill, Newry Co Armagh, Ann Street, Dundalk, Co Louth and Swanward Court, Parnell Road, Dublin 12,  featured at the Smithwick Tribunal.

Arising out of the references made about Mr Tiernan at that inquiry, the estate has concerns about the defendant, counsel said.

That tribunal considered events surrounding the killing of senior RUC officers Harry Breen and Robert Buchanan by the IRA as they crossed the border in 1989.The tribunal heard that Mr Tiernan, along with former Detective Owen Corrigan, were kidnapped and beaten by the IRA in 1995. The tribunal concluded that the two were abducted "because of a business transaction with the Provisional IRA which turned sour".

The tribunal also said Mr Tiernan was believed to be involved in "large-scale smuggling" and was suspected of being involved in fraud.

Counsel said that while the estate was only seeking an interim order preventing the defendant from spraying the land with weed killer it also intends to seek orders from the court at a later stage.

These include an order restraining Mr Tiernan from entering the lands, damages for trespass and declarations that the defendant is not allowed to enter or use the property.

The temporary injunction preventing the lands from being sprayed was granted, on an ex-parte basis, yesterday, Tuesday, June 23, by Mr Justice Quinn.

The judge said that he was satisfied to make the temporary order based on the evidence that had been put before the court, including that a sign had been put up stating that the lands were to be sprayed.

The judge then adjourned the matter to a date in early July. 

Killiney-based Mr Bailey, who died in July 2019 following a long illness, was a well known Fine Gael Councillor who served on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, County Council for many years.

He was also the Chairman of the Dublin GAA County Board for a decade as well as being a former intercounty referee.  One of his children is the former FG TD for Dun Laoghaire Maria Bailey.

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