It is not a very rock and roll fight, but Mick Hucknall and Chris de Margary were involved in a battle this week. The two Simply Red musicians have been to court over the right to shoot and fish game on their Donegal estate.
The pair failed to secure an interim injunction against their neighbour John Wilde who, they claim has disrupted their "quiet enjoyment" of the land. Wilde has reportedly harassed guests at Glenmore and challenged them to get lost and the presiding judge has predicted that the battle would rage for years.
Wilde, who manages the Cloghan Fishing Lodge on the other side of the River Finn, claims that he is the rightful owner of the Glenmore sporting rights. But Hucknall and de Margary are suing him over the disputed rights to hunt deer, ducks and other birds they insist they bought for £1.17m in 2005.
Hucknall, singer of hits "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)" and "Stars", set up Glenmore Rivers Sporting Estate with his band mate to accommodate upmarket hunting expeditions. They are keen anglers and Hucknall, who lives in Kent, is said to spend a lot of time in Ireland.
The pair bought the 24,000-acre estate in 2005. De Margary and his wife, who was a backing singer in the band, currently live there.
However, Wilde claims that the previous owner of Glenmore transferred the hunting rights to his father, David, who sold the adjoining estate for around £6.5m. He spent a month in prison in the 1990s after another legal dispute over fishing rights with the then-owners of Glenmore, the Mackie family.
Residents of Cloghan village yesterday said they had been unaware of the row between the estates until now.
De Margary insisted the band members' dispute was not with the owners of Cloghan Lodge, but Mr Wilde himself. In a statement, he said: "We have a good working relationship with them and are currently in talks about enhancing the area in relation to job creation as well as an environmental and tourism perspective." Lawyers for the new owners of Cloghan Lodge Estate released a similar statement yesterday.
Speaking at the hearing on Thursday, Judge John O'Hagan described the proceedings as a "fire brigade exercise" in a dispute that has been simmering since 2005. He ordered a 15-minute adjournment to give the disputing parties an opportunity to "sort it out." However, no agreement between the two parties had been reached by the time the court resumed.
Representing the band members, Peter Nolan said his clients were quite happy to undertake not to interfere with the Cloghan Estate if Mr Wilde, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, committed to a similar undertaking.
But Damien Crawford, for Mr Wilde, who indicated there was a French shooting party due into the area at the weekend, claimed that they had only been served with papers on Wednesday and thus, had not been given ample time to reply – a claim denied by Hucknall and de Margary.
However, Judge O'Hagan ruled that Mr Wilde was entitled to more time and adjourned until next Friday. He declined to make any orders, saying if he did it would "stir up trouble" and added that the matter could go on for years.
Chris de Margary declined to comment as he left court yesterday.