Man loses challenge to IDA compulsory purchase of farm

Judge says national interest must outweigh interests of the individual

A farmer has lost his High Court action aimed at stopping the Industrial Development Authority from acquiring lands he and his family have worked for more than a century.

Thomas Reid challenged the IDA and the State over the IDA's decision to compulsorily acquire his 72-acre farm and family home at Hedsor House, Blakestown, Co Kildare, for development purposes.

Mr Reid (51) did not want to sell his land, which adjoins the Carton House Estate and the Intel site in Leixlip. He claimed the IDA's decision was flawed and unfair and a breach of his property rights as well as his rights under the Constitution and European Convention of Human Rights. Mr Justice John Hedigan, in a reserved judgment delivered yesterday, dismissed Mr Reid's case on the grounds that the proposed compulsory purchase was provided for by law.

He said the decision was clearly intended to achieve the IDA’s objective of encouraging industrial development in Ireland and, in its dealings with Mr Reid, it had adopted every fair procedure possible.

Mr Reid, it is understood, is to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Pat Butler SC, for Mr Reid, argued that sections in the 1986 Industrial Development Act, which the IDA claimed gave it the power to acquire the lands, were unconstitutional.

Mr Justice Hedigan held the IDA was entitled to compulsorily acquire land where it considered development was likely to take place and that Mr Reid was fully aware of the its reasons.

He said Hedsor House had great value to Mr Reid and his family and it was a heavy loss for him to bear but weighted against that, now more than ever, was the need for industrial development in Ireland to attract foreign direct investment.

Mr Justice Hedigan said he was driven to the conclusion that the national interest must outweigh the interests of the individual. While he had every sympathy with Mr Reid, the need to increase employment demanded many sacrifices.