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Judge tells Council and Markethill family to mediate in Lambeg drum case

Richard Sterritt Armagh Courthouse

A judge in the case against a Markethill family and the Council has ruled that both parties must mediate between themselves.

The Sterritt family are currently fighting a noise abatement notice – essentially limiting the times and use of Lambeg drums.

However, earlier today at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, Deputy District Judge Peter King stated: “This gives all parties ownership of what is a neighbourhood matter.”

Kelley Sterritt received the notice from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council back in August following complaints from a neighbour.

Outraged and determined, Mrs Sterritt vowed to fight the council-imposed ban.

The family see the Lambeg drum as a tradition which has passed through three generations and one which they wish to uphold.

Court heard the abatement notice restricted the playing of drums to within specified hours for no longer than 30 minutes on two days each week, and that “no more than one” drum can be played at any one time.

No restrictions apply on the Twelfth or July 13.

Judge King, in a statement, said that recording of the sounds from a neighbouring conservatory had revealed noises above 60 decibels with some even reaching over 70.

It was heard that the first of the complaints were not made until 22 weeks after the passing of Mrs Sterritt’s husband, Richard (main image).

Judge King stated that the complainant felt that the noises increased in frequency after the passing of Mr Sterritt.

He said that this was “recognised as a nuisance” and the same would be said if it were a “bodhran or bagpipe”

Through this, the judge claimed that the “abatement notice is justified”.

He commented that through the proceedings both parties had been willing to mediate, which he recommended.

Judge King stated: “This gives all parties ownership of what is a neighbourhood matter”.

Both accepted this would be taken for discussion with the position to be updated and listed for mention at Armagh Magistrates’ on February 19.

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