Couple in legal saga over house built without planning permission agree to leave in 2022

Navan property to be demolished when couple move out

The motion came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Thursday who was told, following discussions between the sides, the parties had reached an agreement.

The motion came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Thursday who was told, following discussions between the sides, the parties had reached an agreement.

 

A couple have agreed to leave a house they built in breach of planning laws in two years’ time.

The property, located outside Navan in Co Meath, was built by Michael Murray, aka Chris Murray, a plumber, and his wife Rose 14 years ago. It will be demolished after they leave their home in September 2022.

In what was described as a long running saga, Meath County Council brought proceedings against the couple over a decade ago claiming the property was unauthorised development. In 2010 the High Court found in the council’s favour and ordered the house be demolished.

A two-year stay was placed on the demolition order. The Murrays appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which in 2017 upheld the lower court’s decision. In fresh proceedings launched last year, the Council claimed the Murrays’ had failed to comply with the order to demolish their home.

It brought a motion before the High Court seeking their attachment and possible committal to prison for their alleged contempt of court. The couple had rejected the council’s claims and denied they were in wilful contempt.

They argued the contempt proceedings should be struck out on grounds including delay and due to the change in their personal circumstances and their lack of resources.

The motion came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Thursday who was told, following discussions between the sides, the parties had reached an agreement.

The Murrays, the judge heard, will remain at the 588sq metre house at Faughan Hill, Bohermeen, Navan, for another two years.

They are to vacate the property by September 24th, 2020 and demolition works will take place following their departure.

As part of the agreement, the couple gave sworn undertakings to the court they would leave their home by the agreed date.

Mr Justice Meenan welcomed the settlement, and gave both parties liberty to apply should the need arise.

The courts previously heard, before building their house, the Murrays applied for but failed to get permission for a 283sq metre dormer bungalow for them and their three children on part of that land.

They did not appeal the council’s decision, which they claimed was an error.

They proceeded to build a house nearly double that size without planning permission. They applied for retention permission for the property, which was not successful.

This resulted in Meath County Council bringing its successful enforcement proceedings. The Supreme Court’s order to demolish the property, expired in May 2018.