High Court challenge brought over permission for 289 homes in Ennis

Kilfenora resident wants order overturning approval for €65 million scheme

Permission for the largest private housing scheme proposed for Ennis, Co Clare, is being challenged in the High Court.

Kilfenora resident Michael Duffy wants an order overturning the approval given by An Bord Pleanála last April for the €65 million scheme.

The 289-unit strategic housing development is proposed by developer Glenveagh Homes Ltd for the outskirts of the town at Drumbiggle, Keelty. Clare County Council had recommended refusing the scheme, which is to comprise 199 three-bed houses, 78 two-bed homes and 12 one-bed maisonettes. In compliance with its obligations, Glenveagh proposes to sell 57 homes to the local authority.

Mr Duffy wants the court to order a pause to the carrying out of any works on the development pending determination of his High Court judicial review.


He claims there are various errors in the board’s decision, including that it failed to consider relevant material, such as the Ennis local area plan. He says the board acted irrationally and unreasonably in how it came to its conclusion on the scheme.

The density of the scheme, at 32 units per hectare, is beyond what is allowed under the zoning of the build site, Mr Duffy claims. He says the site has been zoned for low density residential development, which sets a maximum of 15 residential units per hectare.

The planning application before the board was not valid as it did not contain evidence that state body Irish Water had confirmed there was sufficient capacity in the local wastewater network, he alleges. Instead, he says, Irish Water said capacity would be there if upgrade works are carried out.

The board misdirected itself in law by wrongly assuming it had jurisdiction to permit the development without requiring it to be paused until required wastewater treatment system upgrades were completed, Mr Duffy alleges.

As part of his case, he is asking the court to declare that the State has failed to adequately transpose a section of the EU’s Urban Wastewater Directive. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be directed to review the Ennis North wastewater treatment plant licence, he adds.

Mr Duffy also alleges that Irish law is defective in not requiring the EPA to be notified of an activity that is likely to effect on a discharge from a wastewater treatment plant it authorises.

Barrister Alan Doyle, instructed by FP Logue solicitor Eoin Brady, mentioned the case before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys on Monday. He asked the court, while only his side was represented, to note that the action has been brought within the required eight-week time limit.

The judge recorded that the case was brought on time.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter