01 Oct 2022

Judge orders Graiguecullen land for major housing project be vacated by people 'illegally occupying'

Judge orders Graiguecullen land for major housing project be vacated by people 'illegally occupying'

A development company has secured a High Court injunction over what it claims is the 'large-scale' illegal occupation of lands ear-marked for a major housing project in Laois near the Carlow border. 

Mr Justice Brian O'Moore said on Wednesday, July 27 that he was satisfied to grant an injunction in favour of the owner of the lands Salzagold Limited requiring a large number of persons to vacate the property at Graiguecullen.

The company's counsel Stephen Byrne Bl said his client wants to develop the greenfield site into much needed housing and other facilities for the nearby Carlow town area.

However, the company sought the injunction because it claims that the illegal occupation, which commenced earlier this month, has turned its property into "a base for anti-social behaviour."

Granting the order, the judge expressed his considerable concerns about claims that a tree felling business is being operated on the lands without any proper health and safety measures being in place by those allegedly in occupation.

Mr Justice O'Moore noted the applicant's claims that trees that were being felled at other locations were being brought onto the site where they were being processed by persons presumably operating saws and chainsaws, he said.

The impact of this activity was a serious issue for anybody nearby the lands in question, the judge said. He added that he was also concerned about allegations about the burning of refuse on the lands and claims that vehicles used by some of the occupants had been joyriding in and around the property.

He directed that the terms of the injunction, which is to remain in place pending the outcome of the hearing, be served on those in occupation and warned of the serious consequences if the court's orders were not complied with. 

Last week the company claimed before the High Court that over 40 caravans, and over 150 people are currently trespassing on the lands who it was claimed have refused to leave.

While some had departed in recent days, the court heard that approximately 20 remain on the site.

The alleged behaviour includes the starting of larges fires, anti-social behaviour, and the dumping of large amounts of refuse and waste on the property, and joyriding. At one point the local fire brigade had to put out a large fire that had broken out on the site.

The court heard that the land in question was the subject of a previous illegal occupation in March of this year. However, the small number of persons who were on the lands on that occasion departed the site shortly afterwards, it claims.

Last Friday Mr Justice O'Moore granted the applicant comapny, on an ex-parte basis, permission to serve short notice of the injunction proceedings on the persons allegedly illegally occupying the lands. 

When the matter came before the court on Wednesday there was no appearance by any person in occupation of the lands, nor were there any representations made to the court on their behalf.

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