Second court challenge brought over Blackrock to city centre BusConnects route

Applicants want court to overturn An Bord Pleanála’s approval of route and a compulsory purchase order

The National Transport Authority has sought permission for 12 dedicated bus lanes as part of the capital’s flagship BusConnects project.

A second challenge has been brought over permission for a BusConnects corridor running from Blackrock to Dublin city centre, with the latest initiated by an association of businesses, a community group and individuals.

The case asks the court to overturn An Bord Pleanála’s approval of the 8.3km road project and quash its confirmation of a compulsory purchase order for certain lands.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has sought permission for 12 dedicated bus lanes as part of the capital’s flagship bus project.

Last March, the Belfield/Blackrock spine became the fourth and latest of these to be approved by An Bord Pleanála.


It is already the subject of a court action by the private Blackrock Clinic, while a northside route running from Clongriffin to the city centre is being challenged by an Artane resident.

This latest court case is brought by the Upper Baggot Street Traders Association, its Pembroke Road-based chair, Michael Quinn; the Pembroke Road Association; its chair Susan McCarrick, of St Mary’s Road, Ballsbridge; Fr Patrick Byrne; and Homancrest Limited.

Fr Byrne and Homancrest Limited say they own plots of land on Pembroke Road, Dublin 4, which are the subject of compulsory purchase orders to make way for the route.

Each of the other applicants say they or their members are based or operate from properties along or near the corridor. The Upper Baggot Street group says it has 60 members and represents the interests of small business owners.

Their judicial review is against An Bord Pleanála, as the body that approved the project, while Ireland and the Attorney General are also named as respondents because the case claims sections of the 1960 Local Government Act, the 2000 Planning and Development Act and the 1944 Dublin Transport Authority Act are unconstitutional and in breach of the EU Charter on Human Rights .

Citing domestic and EU law grounds, the applicants are asking the court to declare that they are protected from having to pay the other sides’ legal costs, if they lose their case, as they cite certain environmental grounds.

They allege An Bord Pleanála erred by concluding the proposed project was in line with the development plans of the two council areas it runs through: Dublin City and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. They point to the councils’ policies on land zoning and the protection of trees, hedgerows and architectural heritage.

Their case claims the planning authority failed to have regard to various matters, including the guidelines on protecting architectural heritage.

The board’s alleged failure to properly reason or justify not holding an oral pre-approval hearing is an example of it failing to act per fair procedures, the applicants claim. They also say there was a failure to properly assess the proportionality of the compulsory purchase order.

On Monday, their senior counsel, Stephen Dodd, instructed by Peter Boyle & Co Solicitors, secured permission from Mr Justice Richard Humphreys to proceed with the challenge. The case came before him while only the applicants were represented and will return on July 8th, when the respondents and NTA, as a notice party, can attend.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is High Court Reporter with The Irish Times