A MAN who secured squatters' rights after starting a tyre and car-parts business on council-owned land in north Dublin 20 years ago is to be paid over €1m to leave the site.
Fingal County Council yesterday confirmed it would pay David Joyce €1.1m to vacate a 12-acre site on Dunsink Lane so the land could be used for a regeneration project in the Finglas area.
But it denied newspaper reports that his brothers, one of whom is serving a jail sentence, would receive almost €2m to leave other sites in the area where they have been squatting.
The Joyce brothers David, Alan and Martin - who is in prison for failing to make tax returns and for running a diesel-laundering operation - have lived on council-owned land for over 20 years which entitles them to squatters' rights, known as as adverse possession.
They are being bought out under a compulsory purchase order (CPO).
Yesterday, a council spokesman confirmed that agreement had been reached with David Joyce, a member of the Travelling community, to acquire 12-acres of land he used as part of his business.
But it described as "widely inaccurate" claims in a Sunday newspaper that the council would pay out €23m to secure other land parcels in the area.
"The report is widely inaccurate with its figure of €23m," a council spokesman said.
"We have made a settlement with one person and certainly haven't reached agreement with anyone else.
"There's a plan being prepared for the Dunsink area, and there are claims lodged with us for possessory title.
"By getting those 12 acres we can get at another 13 acres."
The Joyces were living in the area for "considerably longer" than the 12 years required to secure squatters rights, he added, and legal advice to the council said they held possession.
David Joyce is understood to have moved out three weeks ago, and relocated to a house near Ashbourne in Co Meath.
The council also said it was pursuing legal action to address the "illegal occupation and unauthorised uses" of lands around Dunsink Lane, and that as part of that process a number of individuals had claimed squatters' rights.
While one settlement had been reached, the council maintained that other claimants did not have title to the land although it was engaged in negotiations "without prejudice".
Newspaper reports said that talks to finalise deals with brothers Martin and Alan Joyce had stalled because of tax difficulties with the pair, and that authorities were keen to move up to 400 Travellers from the area.
However, the council rejected this, saying "claims pending" were "purely speculative and without foundation", adding it had "no knowledge" of any individual's tax affairs.
Gardai, customs officers and council staff have long been concerned about criminal activity and illegal dumping on Dunsink Lane and there has been a series of high-profile raids in recent years.
Gardai have found guns and other weapons, counterfeiting equipment, laundered oil and stolen property in the past, but only a handful of families are involved in the illegal activity.
Fingal said it would address the illegal occupation of its own lands, and that returning the lands to their legal use would be done in the most cost-effective way possible.