Tuesday 27 September 2016

Judge dismisses part of an action brought by Killarney Jaunting Cars Ltd over securing of new licences to operate horse-drawn carriages

Tim Healy

Published 22/10/2015 | 17:38

The company sought orders including that the council determine annually the number of licences in accordance with the law.
The company sought orders including that the council determine annually the number of licences in accordance with the law.

A JUDGE has dismissed part of an action brought by a Killarney company over the securing of new licences to operate horse-drawn carriages.

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The case was brought by Killarney Jaunting Cars Ltd which claimed Kerry Co Council failed to deal with its request to either issue new licences, or re-issue expired ones, allowing for the operation of the carriages by jarveys in and around the town.

The company, which gets most of its business from tour operators, local hotels and internet bookings, claimed there was an extra demand for jarvey services around Killarney in recent years.

In order to satisfy the demand the company asked Killarney Town Council in 2012 about obtaining extra licences.

Jarveys are required to hold the licences, which are issued under bye-laws by the local authority.  The licences had been issued by the town council, whose functions have been taken over by Kerry Co Council.

The company sought orders including that the council determine annually the number of licences in accordance with the law.

It claimed by failing to deal with its applications the local authority breached its duties  and has acted unlawfully.

The council opposed the action and denied any wrongdoing.

It argued only so many jaunting cars could be accommodated in Killarney and also cited the present level of traffic in the town as a reason for limiting the number of licences to 37.

Mr Justice Max Barrett dismissed parts of the company's action.

He said there was no evidence before the court of any breach of natural and constitutional justice by the council, nor was there anything to suggest it had ever acted outside its powers. 

The judge also urged the parties to "pay careful heed" that it appeared from the evidence the company, and some other jarveys, are not in possession of a current licence.

That being the case, the judge said he was not giving judgment at this time on certain issues including whether previous licences automatically reverted to the council and whether the council may or must re-issue the reverted licences.

He was prepared to give judgment on this point if the court was requested to in the future. 

Pending such a request, he encouraged jarveys to obtain and hold a current licence for each jaunting car.

The judge said the "genesis of the proceedings" lay in a desire by the company to expand its business.

Given that traffic was an issue in relation to the number of licences, the judge said he hoped a study on the matter would be finished soon. This would help determine if jarveys can extend their businesses in the future, he said.  

The judge added it would also be prudent for the council to determine prospectively for 2016 how many such licences will issue.

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