May 17, 2024
Ó Snodaigh Bill to resolve neighbour disputes over trees and hedges passes Dáil Second Stage – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South Central, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, has welcomed the decision by Government to allow his Neighbour Disputes (Vegetation) Bill 2017 to proceed to Committee Stage.

The Bill passed by the Dáil unanimously at Second Stage would address neighbour disputes concerning overhanging trees, hedges and shrubbery blocking sunlight or encroaching on property, by giving local authorities a role in providing mediation and formal adjudication.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:

“I am grateful to the Dáil for supporting my Bill at this stage, which I first put forward seven years ago after working with both the Oireachtas Library and Research Service and the Office of the Parliamentary Legal Adviser. I would like to thank all of those who helped to draft it, and those who first brought this matter to the attention of the Oireachtas Petitions Committee.

“This is a common-sense attempt to provide a form of mediation before matters progress to the courts, to help de-escalate disputes and minimise the cost to both the parties involved and the state, delivering on the recommendation of the Petitions Committee in 2015.

“Constituents often get in touch with their TDs and Councillors over disagreements with their neighbours about trees, hedges and the like, but at present there is no clear law governing such cases in this state, unlike other common law jurisdictions like England.

“We should always aim to resolve problems between neighbours through friendly discussion and agreement, but we know of many instances where disputes escalate into all-consuming battles between neighbours, getting out of control and leading to legal or even physical confrontations.

“With no alternative, people seek arbitration or litigation through the courts, which is not only extremely expensive but acts to clog up our already overworked courts service.

“Having this new first step could help reduce the number of cases that proceed to court, and deliver a more amicable resolution for all involved. Where mediation does not succeed, participants will still have recourse to the courts.

“Sinn Féin is committed to developing sensible, constructive solutions which further empower local authorities to engage with communities and solve everyday problems. With the local elections quickly approaching, it is more important than ever that we elect Sinn Féin councillors who will bring this can-do fresh approach to their councils.”

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