Man to vacate land needed for new runway at Dublin Airport

ireland
A man has agreed before the High Court to vacate land next to Dublin Airport that is needed for the construction of the new north runway
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Michael McAleer

A man has agreed before the High Court to vacate land next to Dublin Airport that is needed for the construction of the new north runway.

Richard Joyce claimed he and his father have enjoyed adverse possession, or squatters' rights, over the land which was next to what the DAA, operator of Dublin Airport, said had once been designated as a licensed Travellers' halting site.

Mr Joyce claimed he and his family had been living at the property at Collinstown Park, Forrest Road, Swords, Co Dublin, for 16 years.

He had opposed an application by the DAA to have him removed. He also put in a counterclaim saying he was entitled to adverse possession.

Agreement

On Tuesday, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds was told there had been agreement between the parties and the case would not be troubling the court.

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The judge noted an agreed order in which Mr Joyce acknowledged he was not entitled to any beneficial interest in the land and will vacate it by January 31st next and remove all his belongings. The case was struck out along with his counterclaim.

Mr Joyce, who was in court, was asked by the judge if he understood that if he or any of his servants or agents went in on the land after January 31st, they would be trespassers, he said he did.

Halting site

In its claim, the DAA said that in 1988 the Minister for Transport and Tourism granted a licence to allow the local authority to build a Travellers' halt at Collinstown. The Minister was the ultimate authority over the airport lands at the time because the DAA (previously Aer Rianta) was a semi-state body.

That was to last until 2007 and after that it was extended on a year-to-year basis. At some time, the DAA says, certain people entered the land and extended the halting site onto land that was not licensed.

In 2017, Fingal Co Council wrote to members of the McAleer family, who were on the extended unlicensed land, requiring them to vacate the land. The DAA says it was never brought to its attention that Mr Joyce was residing on the extended lands.

Following legal action, the McAleers left the site and only in October last year did Mr Joyce say he had been living on the same land as the McAleers for 15 years, it says.

Alternative accommodation

He told the DAA he was willing to consider any suitable offer of alternative accommodation and compensation, the DAA says.

The DAA brought proceedings against him seeking possession saying he had offered no evidence of being in continuous occupation of the land.

Mr Joyce counterclaimed saying he had been in adverse possession by virtue of the fact that he and his father, who he said had been there since 2004, cleared and levelled the site to make it suitable for a caravan.

He said he and his father also laid concrete, gravel and paving on the land, which was also used for the storage of a large number of items, including vehicles. They had also fenced the property and put locks on it, he said.

He sought a declaration from the court that he was entitled to adverse possession by virtue of continuous occupation of more than 12 years;

Ms Justice Reynolds congratulated the parties on reaching an agreement.

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