Sunday 17 January 2010

Judicial review in right of way dispute

THE ROW over a disputed right of way at Doonbeg golf course has taken another twist with the High Court granting a judicial review of Clare County Council’s decision to extinguish the right of way.

Long-time opponent of plans to extinguish the right of way James McNulty has been being granted the review against councillors voting to extinguish the right of way across the Greg Norman-designed golf course.

At a council meeting last September, councillors voted 22 to three in favour of extinguishing the right of way. The move ended the public’s ability to walk across the fourth and 14th fairways at Doonbeg golf course.

The councillors’ decision provided for an alternative right of way to be located a short distance from the existing one.

The plan also involved the golf club constructing a car park that will be used predominantly by surfers.

In his claim Mr McNulty is seeking a court order quashing the council’s decision and a declaration that the council, in extinguishing the right of way, was acting beyond its powers.

Mr McNulty’s move is the latest twist in the current dispute dating back six years, which was sparked by the golf club building a six-foot wall across the right of way.

The golf club instituted its own High Court judicial review proceedings of a Bord Pleanála decision ruling that the golf club acted illegally in building the wall without planning permission.

The proceedings were struck out with no order last October following the councillors giving the go-ahead to the extinguishment.

Cllr PJ Kelly (FF), who opposed the extinguishing of the right of way, said yesterday: “It was inevitable that the decision to extinguish the right of way would be legally challenged because of the clumsy way in which the council handled the matter.”

Cllr Pat Keane (FF) was one of the 22 councillors who voted in favour of the proposal. He said yesterday: “It is disappointing that the decision has been challenged, but anyone is entitled to do so. I would hope that the case can be dealt with quickly.”

The council has yet to file its response to Mr McNulty. A spokesman for the council said it was not in a position to respond at this stage.

Irish Times

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