Thursday 29 March 2007

Case against Kerry golf club owner struck out

Enforcement proceedings against the owner of a golf club near Ballinskellig's Bay, Co Kerry, to remove unauthorised material were struck out by request of Kerry County Council at the Circuit Court in Killarney yesterday.
The proceedings, relating to unauthorised coastal protection works at the Skellig Bay golf club owned by Micheál O'Shea of Bayview Hotel, Waterville, were brought by the council under section 160 of the Planning Development Act 2000.
It was alleged Mr O'Shea failed to properly comply with conditions for retention permission for cliff erosion and protection works carried out to the cliff face of the golf course three years ago, in that he used the wrong type of material.
The enforcement proceedings were initiated just prior to the collapse of rock armour and other material used to reinforce a cliff-top tee box within metres of the coastal home of Breda McGillicuddy last month. The council carried out emergency works to prevent the golf course tee from collapsing on to the 200-year-old cottage and to render the cliff structure safe.
In doing so they also removed the unauthorised material, the subject of the enforcement proceedings, a spokesman for the council said.
Yesterday, Liz Murphy, barrister for the council, told the court that "circumstances have overtaken the matter". Health and safety issues were also now involved, Ms Murphy said.
She requested the matter be struck out and legal costs awarded to the council.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin agreed to this request.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) had advised the council after receiving a complaint before the cliff face boulder collapse. They gave advice to the council on rendering the structure safe, a spokesman for the HSA confirmed yesterday.
The works to the cliff and coast in an area of Prime Special Amenity, a designated National Heritage Area as well as a candidate Special Area of Conservation, have been the subject of ongoing concern among environmentalists.
Friends of the Irish Environment complained that some of the cliff works had done more damage than 100 years of natural erosion.
The golf course was constructed after planning permission was granted in 1999. However, subsequent works to the cliff were carried out without prior permission. Retention permission was subsequently sought and granted with conditions.
At the time of the cliff collapse last month, Mr O'Shea refuted suggestions that Ms McGillicuddy's house was threatened and said the slippage of the wall protecting the golf course was a result of exceptionally high tides.
He said he was complying with the council's instructions on safety.
Mr O Shea said he had not received notice about the enforcement proceedings from the council.
Anne Lucey
© 2007 The Irish Times

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