Court favours Lissadell Estate owners in right of way case

AUDIO: Family welcome the ruling, which overturns High Court decision

The owners of the historic Lissadell House have won a long-running legal battle over rights of way on the property.

Barristers Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy were not at the ruling today but their daughter Elanor told reporters the family will now take time to decide the future of the estate.

The couple bought the historic home of the Gore-Booth family for €4 million in 2003 and spent another €9.5 million restoring the 410-acre demesne.

In 2009 they closed the doors to the public and issued legal proceedings against Sligo County Council, over a provision in the county development plan preserving public rights of way on the property.

An aerial view of the Lissadell Estate

After a 58 day hearing, the High Court ruled that public rights of way did exist on the land. However Mr Justice Bryan McMahon's decision has been overturned on appeal by an unanimous decision of the Supreme Court.

Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy were not in court for the decision because they were working. Their daughter Elanor told reporters that the family is happy with the ruling.

But she would not be drawn on whether today's victory means the doors of Lissadell will now re-open to the public.

Solicitor Dermot Hewson represented Sligo County Council in this action. He said the local authority is intensely disappointed with the outcome.

The court still has to determine who will have to pay the estimated €6 million legal bill. Despite losing the bulk of this appeal, the Council says it will hotly contest the issue of costs.