Farmer allegedly operating unapproved airstrip on neighbour’s land

Judge grants restraining order over land owned by housing development company


A farmer is allegedly operating a landing strip for private aircraft on a neighbour’s land without aviation or local authority approval, the High Court heard.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on Wednesday granted an interim order restraining James Carey, Preston Hill, Stamullen, Co Meath, using as an aerodrome or airstrip any part of a neighbouring 32-acre holding owned by housing development company, Alcove Ireland Eight Ltd. Alcove claims Mr Carey has carried out earthworks on the property and put out Facebook posts referring to his grass runway in Stamullen.

He also posted a video showing a “touch and go” landing by a small plane on its land, Alcove says. Alcove director Raymond Reilly said in a sworn statement it is part of a series of interferences over the past three years with the property which Alcove has leased out to another farmer for grazing since 2012. Alcove intends to shortly lodge planning permission to develop the land. Mr Reilly claims actions by Mr Carey have included breaking down fences, allowing livestock to get onto its land, and setting up beehives on part of it.

The water connection used by the farmer renting the land has been cut off and an access road built by him to the land has had a trench cut across it, it is claimed. Earlier this month, a container and 15 bales of silage were brought onto the field and electric fences cut, it is further claimed.

Gardaí were called but Mr Carey did not restore the land or remove the material, Mr Reilly said. Among his Facebook posts, Mr Carey referred to “33 acres illegally defrauded from my late biological grandmother to the rear of my home”, Mr Reilly said. Mr Carey has not responded to requests to restore the land and not interfere with it, he added.

Alcove is also seeking orders that Mr Carey remove all material from the lands and stop his alleged trespassing. Eoghan Cole BL, for Alcove, said the urgency of the injunction application, brought ex parte (one side only represented) springs from Mr Carey’s “erratic conduct”.

Ms Justice Reynolds said she was satisfied to grant the order restraining the operation of the lands as a runway given the health and safety concerns involved and the apparent absence of any licences to do so. The Irish Aviation Authority should be served with the order, she added. The case comes back next week.