Farmer accused of causing €50,000 damage to his mother's home with a digger

Farmer accused of causing €50,000 damage to his mother's home with a digger

Gordon Deegan

A 53-year-old west Clare farmer allegedly caused over €50,000 worth of damage to his mother’s home with a digger over two years ago, a court has heard.

At Ennis Circuit Court on Monday, counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL told a jury that John Morrissey “took the digger to his mother’s house for reasons that are best known to himself”.

Mr Connolly stated that the damage to the home "was to the tune of over €50,000".

John Morrissey of Clonreddan, Cooraclare on Monday pleaded not guilty to the criminal damage of the external and internal structure of the home of his mother, Mary Morrissey at Alva, Cooraclare on December 13th, 2019.

Mr Morrissey also pleaded not guilty to the criminal damage of the house contents and to the external garage and external septic tank belonging to Mary Morrissey on the same date that formed part of the single charge.

Opening the State case against Mr Morrissey, Mr Connolly stated that “there is a family background to the case”.

Eldest child

Mr Connolly said Mary Morrissey died last year and is the mother of 13 children, the eldest of whom is John Morrissey. Mr Connolly said that Mrs Morrissey’s health was fading in 2018 and 2019 and in late 2019 had gone into respite care into a nursing home as she had some dementia.

Mr Connolly stated that prior to going to the nursing home, she had been residing at her home with her son, Tom Morrissey.

He told the court that Mrs Morrissey’s husband, also named Tom, had died in the late 1990s and it was after that when John took over the running of things at the farm. He said it was intended after Mrs Morrissey’s respite care at the nursing home that she was would return to her home to spend Christmas with her family.


Mr Connolly said no one saw John Morrissey carry out the damage and there is no CCTV of what is alleged to have occurred.

However, Mr Connolly told the jury that they will arrive at the “inescapable” conclusion that Mr Morrissey intended to deliberately cause the damage after hearing the evidence in the case. He said that John Morrissey hired a digger from a local plant hire firm.

The trial is the first criminal trial to take place at Ennis Circuit Court in over one year as Covid-19 restrictions had put a halt to trials taking place since the pandemic.

The jury panel gathered at Glor Theatre in Ennis less than one km from Ennis courthouse and was impanelled via video-link on Monday from the court with jury members bussed over to Ennis courthouse after they had been selected.

The jury has been spaced across the courtroom due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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