Michelle Morrison secures order in privacy case


THE WIFE of singer and musician Van Morrison has secured a High Court order for disclosure of documents relating to her forthcoming legal action over a redevelopment of her neighbours’ home which, she says, has affected her privacy.

Michelle Morrison secured leave from the High Court in October 2010 to bring a challenge related to the alleged failure of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to protect her family’s privacy when it was dealing with planning permission for work on a neighbour’s house on Sorrento Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin. The case has yet to go to full hearing.

Ms Morrison (Rocca), Kilross House, Sorrento Road, Dalkey, wants the court to overturn the council’s acceptance that work done at Desmond and Mary Kavanagh’s house complied with planning permission.

Ms Morrison claims the landscaping works approved by the council as part of the planning permission for the Kavanaghs’ Mount Alverno home will significantly overlook her family’s property.

She also claims the council failed to take into account a number of allegedly unauthorised amendments to previous permissions granted for Mount Alverno, described by Ms Morrison’s lawyer as a 7,500sq ft “Celtic Tiger-type house”.

Without proper landscaping, and in particular the replacement of a number of trees, a balcony in the Kavanaghs’ home seriously overlooks Ms Morrison’s rear garden, it is alleged.

The council has rejected her claims and argued this was essentially a neighbours’ dispute, with most of the arguments having been dealt with when the planning application was appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The board referred the detail of tree-planting back to the council, which claims the matter was dealt with in accordance with what the board required.

During a six-day hearing in 2010, the court also heard that the Kavanaghs, who were notice parties in the proceedings, proposed providing replacement screening between the properties with shrubs including bay laurel, holly and cherry laurel.

Ms Morrison’s experts argued that semi-mature canopy trees were required to match those that had been removed.

Eamon Galligan SC, for Ms Morrison, yesterday applied to Mr Justice John Hedigan for an order for discovery of a number of documents. Those documents were in the possession of the Kavanaghs when they submitted their notice of compliance with planning permission to the county council, he said.

They included a drawing prepared by a tree expert employed by the Kavanaghs which, Ms Morrison’s side would contend, misrepresented the position in relation to the removal of trees, Mr Galligan said.

Rory Mulcahy, for the Kavanaghs, said the matters which Ms Morrison sought to have discovered were no longer relevant because the trees at issue were removed before the notice of compliance with planning permission was applied for. Since then, the council had also decided the removal of the trees was not development and was arguing the discovery was moot.

Mr Justice Hedigan said he would grant a discovery order but the parties should get together to agree what that should cover.

He adjourned the matter for two weeks.