M50 dispute to be settled in six weeks

THE outcome of the multi- million-euro compensation row between a county council and British property firm Jackson Way will be known within six weeks, the arbitrator has said.

But the dispute took a twist when it emerged a legal agreement signed half a century ago prevented the company building anything on the land it now wants compensation for.

A covenant, signed in 1947 by prior owners. was only brought to the attention of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council after arbitration hearings were completed last year.

A resumed sitting of the arbitration took place yesterday at which it was open to the arbitrator to deliver his ruling on how much the county council must pay Jackson Way for the lands at Carrickmines in south Co Dublin which it compulsorily purchased for the M50 motorway.

Jackson Way wants 47 million as it says it intended building houses. The council values the site at 7m.

It asked arbitrator John Shackleton not to finalise his decision because of the covenant which it argued would devalue the lands and weaken Jackson Way’s case.

The beneficiary of the covenant is Mr T K Smith, of solicitors TK Smith Foy, who represented property developer Michael Bailey at the Planning Tribunal.

The council also sought to stall the arbitrator’s ruling because of uncertainty over the ownership of Jackson Way and title to the land, and conflicting evidence given on those issues to the Planning Tribunal which is investigating the company.

Birmingham estate agent Alan Holland last year testified to the arbitrator he was the sole director of the firm, but the Planning Tribunal later heard evidence that Dublin businessman Jim Kennedy, and solicitor John Caldwell, were the beneficial owners.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown wrote to Mr Holland last month requiring him to attend yesterday’s hearing, but he did not show up.

The company was represented instead by two senior counsel and solicitor Stephen Miley, who told the Planning Tribunal he no longer acts for the company in relation to its inquiries.

Barrister for the council Dermot Flanagan SC said Mr Holland was needed to clear up the ownership Issue. Barrister for Jackson Way Hugh O’Neill SC however, claimed the council’s attempt to bring Mr Holland back to Ireland was for “extraneous motives”.

Mr Shackleton said he had to accept the company’s word as it was outside his remit to inquire further into the ownership or title issues. He said he would rule in about six weeks.

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