The case of a farmer whose land was registered as a quarry without his knowledge is to be raised as an emergency issue at a meeting of South Dublin County Council (SDCC) later today.
In recent weeks, farmer Brian Joyce found out that 47 acres of his farm, close to Tallaght in south-west Dublin, had been registered as a quarry with SDCC by Roadstone. The section registered includes the site of his home, his parents' home and the home of his neighbour.
The lands, at Mount Seskin Road, adjoin the De Selby quarry, which is owned and operated by Roadstone, a subsidiary of Irish multinational CRH and one of the largest quarrying firms in the country. The company has said that it is entitled to register the lands and claims to have quarrying rights on them through a lease dating back to 1913.
Mr Joyce said that he had been unable to find any record of the lease in land registry records. He said that he and his family were "shocked and appalled" at the registration and the claims by Roadstone. "The farm has been owned freehold by our family for the last 46 years, and the first we heard about this so-called lease was three weeks ago," he said.
The farm was bought in 1961 by Mr Joyce's father, Thomas, now 89, after he returned from England, where he worked as a labourer. Mr Joyce snr and his wife, Catherine, still live on the farm.
Brian Joyce, who rents additional land from Roadstone, said that he had learned about the registration during a discussion with company representatives. "The land they have registered includes my house, it includes my parents, it includes my neighbours, but none of this is shown. The map they put in is from the 1930s."
Under current planning laws, quarrying companies are required to register a quarry with the relevant county council, in this case South Dublin, and indicate the extent of the quarry in supporting documents. Mr Joyce said that the quarry operator was also required to state who owned the land on which the quarry was located. However, in this section of the form, the company had written "not applicable".
Mr Joyce added: "Not applicable seems to be all we are to Roadstone." He criticised the south Dublin planning department for failing to carry out a check to establish the accuracy of the information supplied by Roadstone and said that this would have shown up a planning application for an extension to his house on the site claimed as a quarry.
Council planners have requested Roadstone to submit a full planning application in relation to the quarry, although the issue surrounding the ownership of some of the lands has yet to be raised by planners, according to SDCC planning documents.
SDCC mayor Eamonn Maloney is to raise the issue by way of an emergency motion later today in an attempt to remove the registration from the records on the basis that the firm supplied incomplete information.
In a statement to The Irish Times, Roadstone declined to comment on the matter of the information provided in the registration. "Roadstone Dublin Ltd registered its quarry at De Selby under Section 261 of the Planning and Development Act in April 2005," the statement said. "As part of that registration, we included land registered to the Joyce farm on which Roadstone Dublin Ltd has quarrying rights by way of a lease in 1913."
© 2007 The Irish Times