DAA and Travellers resolve case over exclusion zone

The DAA had said it needed lands vacated urgently to carry out work on a new runway

The DAA  also joined Fingal County Council  to the proceedings, claiming it has failed to hand over vacant possession of the site over three years after the DAA served it with a notice to quit. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The DAA also joined Fingal County Council to the proceedings, claiming it has failed to hand over vacant possession of the site over three years after the DAA served it with a notice to quit. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

A legal action brought by Dublin airport operator DAA over Traveller families living in an exclusion zone around the proposed new north runway at Dublin airport has been resolved.

DAA had sought orders, including injunctions, for vacant possession of lands at Collinstown, north Dublin, that were previously leased to Fingal County Council to house Traveller families.

It claimed the lands were occupied by several members of the McAleer family, whom, DAA claimed, have no entitlement to be there.

DAA said it needed the lands vacated as a matter of urgency in order to carry out work on the new runway.

The family members, represented by Quinn & Reynolds Solicitors and the Free Legal Advice Centres (Flac), denied any wrongdoing and opposed the action. Some of the families said they had been on the site for some 30 years.

The DAA had also joined the council to the proceedings, claiming it has failed to hand over vacant possession of the site over three years after the DAA served it with a notice to quit.

The injunction application, which had been adjourned on several previous occasions to allow out-of-court discussions aimed at resolving the dispute, was due to be heard by the court on Tuesday. However, Mr Justice Michael Twomey was told by Brian Kennedy SC, for the DAA, that the matter had been resolved and could be adjourned until after Easter to ensure the agreement has been fully fulfilled.

The terms of the agreement between the parties are confidential.

Licence

Previously the court heard that the Minister for Transport, who owned the lands before they were acquired by the DAA, granted a licence in the 1980s allowing the council to use the site as accommodation for Travellers.

The DAA extended that licence agreement with the council until 2017, when it issued a notice to quit because it required the lands for a new runway.

When vacant possession of the site was not handed over, the DAA issued proceedings against the council in 2018. Those proceedings were discontinued to allow the council engage with, and seek alternative accommodation for, those living at the halting site.

Arising out of that engagement, the DAA claimed several of the Traveller families left the site but others remained. As a result the DAA in 2020 commenced fresh proceedings seeking orders against those currently on the site.

It brought parallel proceedings earlier this month after another Traveller family allegedly moved on the site but that case was discontinued after the family left the site.

In a statement on Tuesday, Flac, which represented one of the Traveller families, welcomed the resolution of the dispute. “Flac are happy with the resolution that has been reached and are satisfied that serious consequences have been avoided for our client,” it said.