Sunday 18 March 2018

Woman ordered to stop making complaints against neighbours


A CASE in which a Castlebridge woman brought a noise nuisance case against her neighbours took a bizarre twist at Wexford District Court when a garda told Judge Donnchadh O'Buachalla he served her with an ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) to stop her making unfounded complaints.

Carmel Relihan of 35 Oak Tree Heights, Castlebridge took a case against Paul Boggan of 36 Oak Tree Heights alleging annoyance from noise, under the Environmental Protection Agency Act of 1992.

After hearing all the evidence, Judge Donnchadh O'Buachalla did not make any order and told Ms. Relihan that he expected her to keep the peace.

The complainant said there was a badly-insulated wall between her and her neighbours who had been playing music for the past five months.

She could hear doors banging, dogs barking and all kinds of noise from the house next door.

' This went on all over the summer, most nights, sometimes until seven or eight in the morning', she said.

Some nights she couldn't get any sleep.

She said the situation had improved over the past few weeks but there was still noise until two or three in the morning.

Ms. Relihan said her 14year-old daughter, a student in the Loreto, was exhausted as a result of being woken from her sleep.

Asked if she had been served with an ASBO in relation to the complaints, she replied: 'No, I don't think so'.

'I have a genuine complaint if I can't sleep with the music,' she said.

Asked if she had made a threat to Mr. Boggan's daughter, Tara, she said she got angry and 'I wrote them a little note'.

Mr. Finn handed in a copy of the letter to the court.

'I didn't mean it in a bad way. I did it after being awake all night', she said.

Mr. Finn said the complainant threatened that she would appear in Ms. Boggan's workplace and complain in front of her colleagues.

Garda Tony Connolly said he received three complaints from Ms. Relihan during July and he visited the scene each time, but there was no music or noise coming from the Boggan family home and no lights on.

He said Philomena Boggan had contacted him in relation to two letters, one of which was handed in to court.

Garda Connolly said he called to Ms. Relihan's home and she denied she had written the letters.

He advised her to refrain from making complaints.

He issued an ASBO, requesting she refrain from interfering with the Boggans or playing loud music because, by this stage, Ms. Relihan had started to play loud music herself to counteract the alleged noise from next door.

Asked by Judge O'Buachalla if she accepted what the garda had said, she said she did.

In evidence, Paul Boggan said he had lived in Oak Tree Heights for nearly 20 years and Ms. Relihan had lived next door for about eight years.

He said one of the complaints about noise emanating from the house concerned a date when his daughter who was diabetic had to be rushed to hospital.

Another was the night of his father's removal when Ms. Relihan alleged that they were playing music, and another was when the family was attending a Communion in Arklow.

'Do you play loud music,' asked Mr. Finn.

'No, we don't,' he said, adding: ' We don't have a sound system, just music on the television.'

Judge O'Buachalla asked her if she agreed that Garda Connolly's evidence did not back up her case.

'It's my word against theirs,' she said.

'Can you give an assurance that you won't cause distress to your neighbours?' asked the Judge.

'I never put on loud music unless I was angry in the morning,' she said.

Judge O'Buachalla said he would make no order and he advised Ms. Relihan to keep the peace.

'I am, they're not keeping the peace,' she replied.

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