A former New York police officer, John Sweeney, is ready to take on 10 Irish landlords who he believes own land that rightfully belong to his ancestors.
Sweeney, who was born in Cullen, Co. Cork, staged a symbolic protest this week on the 1,300 acre site on the grounds of Blarney Castle to bring light to a case he plans to bring against ten landlords including Blarney Castle owner John Colthurst.

 Sweeney, who established a charity in the U.S. called the Irish Crown Estates to administer the land if he ever wins his case, claims several plots of land in Ireland were illegally removed from Irish people and given to settlers hundreds of years ago.

Sweeney, 72, was accompanied by two documentary makes from the U.S.

"People might well laugh at me, but I am deadly serious about this," he said.

Despite his age, Sweeney said he hopes to live to see the day that the land was restored to its rightful owners, the Irish people.

“I’m not doing this for myself. The profits from the land would be used by the charity to help people in Ireland who are in need," he said.

"I am preparing to go to the courts and will get an attorney to file the suits," he said.

Wanting to give notice to several of the estates he plans to bring a case against, Sweeney said he visited most of them last year to fill them in.

Sweeney acknowledged it was highly unlikely estate owners would take the threat of his legal action lying down.

"I know full well they will fight me to the death," he said.


John Sweeney discusses the land ownership on the Landsdowne Estate