Jackson Way hearings end in confusion over owner

THE arbitrator in the Jackson Way land compensation dispute has retired to consider the case.

It is still uncertain who owns the land in question.

Almost a month of hearings wound up yesterday when the abritrator heard the company still had not produced documents to confirm who held title to the lands for which it is claiming 47 million in compensation.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, which took over the 20 acre site at Carrickmines in south County Dublin for the completion of the M50 motorway, had made an unconditional offer of 7.6 million.

But the arbitrator, John Shackleton, told the council he had to discount the offer because of the title issue as any award made could only be paid over if the company could vouch for title.

"You are shooting yourself in the foot straight away," he told the council. "You are making an offer for a title you patently know the claimants not to have."

Early on in the hearings, a Birmingham businessman, Alan Holland, gave evidence that he was the sole director of Jackson Way but the Flood Tribunal last week heard that solicitor John Caldwell was the beneficial owner.

The company is under investigation in relation to controversial rezoning efforts on the Carrickmines lands. Revelations about the company's workings are expected when the Flood Tribunal resumes on November 20th.

Mr Shackleton ruled against the council's submission that an element of Jackson Way's claim for almost 4 million in reinvestment costs did not stand up. He cited Mr Holland who had given evidence that he would use the compensation award to replace the lands lost to the motorway.

He also said he could not agree to the council's request to make an interim reward pending clarification of title to the lands. He said he could only do this if he had two figures to work from the company's claim and the council's offer and he had already outlined the difficulty with the council's offer.

In his closing statement, Hugh O'Neill SC for Jackson Way, complained about a move by elected members of the council to have the industrially zoned portion of the company's remaining Carrickmines lands reverted to agricultural use.

Its original rezoning from agricultural to industrial use is under investigation by the Flood Tribunal. Labour councillors have a motion before next week's meeting on the County Development Plan, to re-zone the land again, back to its original status as agricultural terrain.

"It is significant that this motion is made at a time when the Flood Tribunal has not come out with any reports condemning Jackson Way properties," he said. Mr Shackleton is expected to take until the new year to assess the level of compensation to be paid and also who should be awarded the costs of the hearing. The council's offer might have protected it against having to pay costs but there is now a possibility it will have to foot the bill for both sides.

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