Firm challenges plan for new halting site in north Dublin

Council plans to move Travellers living on land needed for airport runway to Coolquay

A local authority’s decision to grant planning permission for a halting site in north Co Dublin has been challenged in the High Court. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.

A local authority’s decision to grant planning permission for a halting site in north Co Dublin has been challenged in the High Court. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.

 

A local authority’s decision to grant planning permission for a halting site in north Co Dublin has been challenged in the High Court.

The proposed development at Coolquay, which would include seven caravan bays, is to provide accommodation for members of the Traveller community, who are being moved from a site at Collinstown Park which is to be used as part of a new runway planned for Dublin Airport.

Environmental and planning company Coolquay St Margarets The Ward Development DAC wants to overturn Fingal County Council’s July 9th decision to grant planning permission for the seven bays and associated buildings and services.

Jarlath Fitzsimons SC, appearing for the objectors with Eoghan Foley Bl instructed by Bernard L Gaughran & Co Solicitors, said the decision was unlawful and should be quashed.

He said the proposed development, located between the M2 and R135 roadways, materially convenes the policies and objectives of the council’s own development plan for the area.

The lands in question are zoned rural, and there is no provision for Traveller accommodation in areas zoned rural in the area, he said. Counsel said the site was poorly served in terms of amenities, health and education.

Desire

He also told the court that members of the Traveller community in Fingal have expressed an overwhelming desire to be accommodated in group housing schemes rather than at a halting site.

Counsel added that the proposed development was not consistent with proper planning in Coolquay for reasons related to flooding and drainage, and was in breach of the Waste Water Act. The decision was also irrational, counsel added.

In its judicial review proceedings against Fingal County Council, the company seeks an order quashing the decision. It also seeks various declarations including that the planning decision materially contravenes the 2017-2023 Fingal Development Plan.

The application, which was made ex-parte, was made before Mr Justice Michael McGrath.

The judge said the application for permission to bring the challenge should be made made in the presence of the council, and adjourned the matter to a date in October.

The judge, who voiced concerns about the rights of other parties potentially being effected by the application, said the council should be asked to provide an undertaking not to start the works until the case has been heard. The company could return to court and apply for a stay on the proposed works if the council was not prepared to give such an undertaking, he added.