Man ‘ignored’ ban on marina structure

THE Department of the Marine is taking a man to the High Court for ignoring its ultimatum to remove unauthorised marine structures from a West Cork bay.

The department confirmed yesterday that it is in the final stages of preparing the case against Paul Rafferty, who owns the luxurious Walton Court complex in Oysterhaven, near Kinsale, in Co Cork.

A court date has yet to be decided but a spokesman said it is hoped the hearing will be held within a matter of weeks.

“We maintain that the structures are a danger to the public,” he said.

The department last year secured an interim injunction against Mr Rafferty, who owns the 18th-century mansion and five-star holiday complex, preventing usage of the disputed marina in Oysterhaven Bay on the grounds of public safety.

The department restated its position yesterday that as far as it is concerned, Mr Rafferty does not have a foreshore licence to operate the disputed structures.

The issue was referred by the department to the Chief State Solicitor’s Office last year.

In July, Mr Rafferty was given seven days to comply with instructions from the Chief State Solicitor’s office to remove a slipway, marina pontoon and walkway and restore the foreshore near his property. But instead of complying with the instruction, work began on the installation of a gangway to link a slipway to a jetty.

The department has been closely monitoring the situation since.

Department officials previously stated that Mr Rafferty was “viewed as being seriously in breach of his foreshore licence”.

The department has written to him on previous occasions instructing him to remove the structures and restore the area.

Correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act last year showed that the department instructed Mr Rafferty on October 7, 2005, to remove all works from the foreshore and to restore the area to its former condition.

An inspection of the site by department engineers last year revealed that structures, including a slipway, pontoon and walkway approved under foreshore leases granted in September 2003, had not been built to authorised plan.

The slipway inhibited public access across the shoreline due to its height and mooring anchors for the pontoon had been installed “outside the lease area”, extending too far into the harbour, the department said.

Cork County Council has also found the development to be in breach of planning approval granted by An Bord Pleanála in 1999.

The council has also confirmed that it has referred the issue of other structures built by Mr Rafferty in breach of planning approvals to its legal department.

It is understood that these structures include a boathouse, entrance and access road, a pier/slipway and pontoon.

Storm force winds in early December caused substantial damage to the marina development.

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