Judge orders demolition of unauthorised Co Wicklow home

17th April 2015
News Item

Ruling on family’s Blessington chalet seen as endorsing strict planning law enforcement
Mary Carolan The Irish Times

An order for demolition of the wooden chalet home of a young family in Blessington, Co Wicklow built in “gross” breach of planning laws has been granted by the High Court. In an important judgment endorsing strict enforcement of such laws, president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns made the order in a judgment strongly disagreeing with a previous High Court ruling.

In this judgment from 2013 a judge refused to order the demolition of a different wooden chalet home near Lough Dan in Co Wicklow. The order made on Friday permits demolition of the home at Tinode, Blessington, on the busy N81 road between Tallaght and Blessington, of Gary Kinsella, his partner and their young child, at a date time to be agreed between the sides.

If they cannot agree, the judge will fix a date for demolition when the case returns to him next week.

In his decision, Mr Justice Kearns said planning control is “an essential environmental necessity in a properly ordered society” without which there would be nothing to stop “a free for all development culture from running riot”.

There would be levels of “absurdity” if property rights of a person acting unlawfully were in every instance to be permitted trump those of a democratic society, he said.

An “extreme” example was a person might create overnight a structure outside Dublin’s GPO with sleeping and cooking facilities and then claim it was “inviolable” due to the constitutional protection afforded to the family home.

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The Irish Times