High Court to decide final outcome of HSA roadworks legal dilemma

A LEGAL wrangle over whether the Health and Safety Authority has power over local authority road works undertaken throughout the country is to be determined by the High Court.

The issue came up at Cork District Court. How it is ultimately determined will have implications for every local authority in Ireland.

Judge David Riordan said yesterday: “Cork County Council is alleged to have not complied with a certain procedure of the Health and Safety Authority in the making of certain roads, in particular the use of DBM (Dense Bitumen Macadam).”

Solicitor for Cork County Council, Kevin O’Leary, said the matter which was sent forward from Cork District Court by way of case stated it would be heard in the High Court on November 20.

Judge Riordan said, “A whole series of questions have been sent forward to the High Court for their opinion.

“The jurisdiction of the HSA over local authorities and the manner in which they build roads — that is the net issue. There are other subsidiary issues.”

It is anticipated that the case could take three or four days at the High Court in Dublin.

The background to the case stated is that the HSA brought proceedings against Cork County Council in relation to the surfacing of roads.

The council appealed the issue claiming they had statutory responsibility for roads and that the HSA did not have the power to interfere with a local authority.

The council claimed that they carried out their work in accordance with the specifications set down by the National Roads Authority.

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