Monday 5 December 2016

Man living on 100 tonne vessel in North County Dublin must await Supreme Court decision on vessel's fate

Tim Healy

Published 31/07/2015 | 18:54

Shane Kennedy on his boat in Balbriggan harbour Pic:Mark Condren
18.2.2013
Shane Kennedy on his boat in Balbriggan harbour Pic:Mark Condren 18.2.2013

A FINAL decision in a legal action against a man living on an allegedly unsafe former minesweeper vessel has been deferred.

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Shane Kennedy has been living on the "very large" 100 tonne "Portisham" vessel since 2007 and brought it into Balbriggan harbour in 2010.

Shane Kennedy on his boat with his dog Collie in Balbriggan harbour Pic:Mark Condren
18.2.2013
Shane Kennedy on his boat with his dog Collie in Balbriggan harbour Pic:Mark Condren 18.2.2013

He was told by the harbour authority, Fingal County Council, the vessel would not be permitted into any harbours in its area.

The council brought successful |High Court proceedings claiming the vessel was unsafe and should be scrapped. He appealed that decision.

Today, the Supreme Court deferred a final decision on his appeal.

The council had offered Mr Kennedy alternative accommodation and took its legal action in 2012 after he refused those offers, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said in the Supreme Court.

The council received several complaints about the vessel being in the harbour.

The core issue was whether the vessel was unauthorised development within the meaning of the Planning and Development Act 2000, she said.

The High Court had ruled it was and also observed the vessel was unseaworthy, unregistered and uninsured.

If the vessel was moored to and floating over the foreshore, it was not exempted development and it required planning permission, Ms Justice Laffoy said.

Mr Kennedy had not sought or obtained such permission.

However, before final orders can be made, the council has to provide proper proofs of its claim the vessel is located on the "foreshore", the judge ruled.

The court will set a date later for addressing the proofs issue.

Previously, the High Court Mr Kennedy (55), an electronics engingeer, has lived on the Portisham since buying it in Essex, England, in 2007 after it was decommissioned by the Royal Navy in 1989.

He paid €34,000 for the boat and estimates he has spent €70,000 doing it up.

He spent three years in Weymouth and Pembroke before sailing to Dublin Port. He eventually ended up in Balbriggan Harbour in October 2010.

He disputed claims the vessel was unsafe.

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