A LANDLADY and her tenant have been ordered to pay more than €4,000 in compensation to a pensioner after illegally chopping down his trees.
Loman O’Dowd told a court hearing how a first attack on his 26-foot high trees took place four weeks earlier….whilst he popped to the pub for a pint.
The 67-year-old, from 22 Glenview Park, Ballybofey, is a retired horticulturist who had spent years developing his garden for a book he was writing.
He had spent 33 years as an advisor with Teagasc.
But on August 14, 2008, he told Letterkenny Circuit Civil Court, he heard the roar of a chainsaw from 28 Glenview Park and initially thought nothing of it.
Instead he decided to go to the pub for a few pints to get away from the noise.
When he came back he discovered that Polish neighbour Robert Gasior had removed all the branches for the first five feet on each of eight trees.
He said he was left traumatised by the incident because he knew that as the trees were Leylandii, they would never grow back – and would have to be chopped down.
Mr O’Dowd said he made a formal complaint to Rose McGlynn, the mother of the man who owned the house and who was renting the property to Mr Gasior.
He wrote down a set of proposals for repairing the damage, but Mrs McGlynn never came back to him.
Instead, alleged Mr O’Dowd, Mrs McGlynn’s husband Charles had sworn at him several times.
Then in September 2008 the pensioner had gone to Portnoo to play golf for the day.
He returned to find that Charles McGlynn and one of his sons had chopped down the trees completely.
Mr O’Dowd said he was “shocked and traumatised” by the incident and had hardly used his garden since. All his privacy was taken away, he said, and a plan he had to write a book about his garden project was gone.
In her evidence Mrs McGlynn did not deny any of the claims and admitted under cross-examination from solicitor Frank Dorrian that she had failed to respond to a request from Mr O’Dowd to settle the matter at a time suited to him.
Barrister Peter Nolan, representing Mrs McGlynn, said Mr Gasior had cut back the trees because his two daughters had been hurt climbing them.
Mr Gasior said he was sorry for all the hassle he had caused and said he had considered moving home as a result.
Judge Mary Faherty said she believed the father of two had acted honestly in the interests of protecting his children.
However she ruled that Mr O’Dowd’s property had been damaged.
She took into account the fact that Mrs McGlynn had paid €1,300 for a new fence between the houses which back on to each other, and awarded Mr O’Dowd €4,113 in damages to allow him to restore his garden.
“This is a case where there was a complete failure in communication,” said the judge.