Airport operator DAA has launched fresh injunction proceedings in a dispute over occupation of lands required for the airport's new north runway. In other proceedings to be heard later this month, the airport operator is seeking orders against a number of Traveller families for vacant possession of the lands at Collinstown, near Swords.
DAA says it needs the lands, within an exclusion zone around the new runway, to finish work on the project.
The completion date for the project was previously extended from last December to June 2021 and DAA fears the actions of the defendants in various legal actions may lead to further delays. On Friday, DAA obtained permission from Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds to bring an injunction application against another Traveller family whom it claims moved onto the disputed site in the last week. Brian Kennedy SC, for DAA, said it is seeking injunctions against Tracey and Martin McAleer requiring them to vacate lands at Collinstown Park, Forrest Road, Swords.
Notice to quit
DAA says the lands, which it has acquired, were used by Fingal County Council for many years as accommodation for members of the Traveller community. After the licence allowing the lands be used as Traveller accommodation expired in 2017, DAA served a notice on the occupants to quit. Some occupants left but DAA claims four families, against whom legal actions have been brought, opted to remain. Counsel said, as well as the families already on the site, the McAleers, who are understood to have five children, had moved their caravan on to the site in the last few days. Mr and Mrs McAleer say a two-bedroom house which they have is too small for them, the court was told. They are said to be related to members of the four other defendant families against whom DAA has brought proceedings.
DAA has been told by lawyers representing the other families the McAleers' actions have nothing to do with the other defendants. Counsel said DAA says neither the couple, nor anyone else, have a legal right to reside at the site. The injunction applications against the other defendant families are due to be heard later this month. Fingal County Council, which claims its offers to accommodate those families away from Collinstown have been turned down, is a defendant in those proceedings. On Friday, Ms Justice Reynolds granted Mr Kennedy permission, on an ex parte basis, to serve notice of the latest proceedings on Tracey and Martin McAleer and adjourned the matter to next week.
Separately, DAA and trade unions Connect and Unite are due in the Labour Court on March 19th in a bid to resolve a dispute with electricians and fitters over proposed work practice changes.
More than 90 per cent of DAA employees agreed to change work practices last year as the company dealt with collapsing passenger numbers.
Around 120 craft workers oppose some proposed changes, including that they operate in teams across both of the airport’s terminals, and use new technology.
Unions and management indicated that they hoped the Labour Court hearing would resolve the issues.