From Irish Times:
The Garda is to review its arrangements for the supervision of blasting at a Wicklow quarry, following a High Court determination that the quarry is required to have planning permission.
In the past gardaÃ have required neighbours of the quarry to evacuate their property during the blasting.
O'Reilly Brothers (Wicklow) Ltd, of Ballylusk, near Ashford, was told by the High Court last month that An Bord PleanÃ¡la had not erred when it ruled in July 2003 that the quarry was required to have planning permission.
While Mr Justice John Quirke described documentation provided by Wicklow County Council to An Bord PleanÃ¡la as "deplorable", the judge ruled that there was adequate material upon which An Bord PleanÃ¡la could make its determination.
Having read the relevant documents, the judge said he was of the same view as the planning inspector. He noted the relevant provisions of the Planning Act 2000 required that the grounds of referral, and the "reasons, considerations and arguments" upon which those grounds were based, must be stated in full.
Because the planning authority was prepared to "sieve" through the extensive and "rag-tag" documentation given to it by the council, it was able to glean the grounds of referral and the "reasons, considerations and arguments" upon which those were based, he found. While it was "discourteous and grossly unsatisfactory" that any local authority should refer a question to the planning authority "in such a deplorable manner", he was satisfied neither the company nor any other party to the referral process was prejudiced by the regrettable quality of the documents provided by the council.
The company had told the court that because the council had not properly referred the issue to An Bord PleanÃ¡la, the planning authority's decision of July 2003 was invalid.
Locals were hopeful that the ruling may bring to an end quarrying activity at Ballylusk, although The Irish Times has established that the company lodged a planning application with Wicklow County Council during the course of its separate court appeal.
Calls to Wicklow County Council on the matter last week were not returned.
A resident who asked not to be identified said locals were greatly disappointed in the past when asked by gardaÃ to leave their properties.
One individual has told gardaÃ that should the issue arise again he would not be prepared to comply with their instructions. Other locals said they were now relying on Wicklow County Council to take enforcement action.
A Garda spokesman noted that the force had sought advice from the office of the Attorney General before officers attended while explosives were being used at Ballylusk quarry. While he said that a review of the current arrangements would be undertaken, the principal authority in the matter would be the planning authority, Wicklow County Council.
The issue is to be raised at a council meeting today by Green Party councillor Deirdre de Burca who said there were "now two clear decisions from An Bord PleanÃ¡la and the High Court in favour of locals and I will be calling on the council to meet its obligations through enforcement right away".