Landowner fights to halt compulsory purchase of his property by IDA
A LANDOWNER wants the High Court to stop the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) from compulsorily acquiring his home and 72 acres of his land.
The court has heard the IDA decided to compulsorily acquire Thomas Reid's property in Maynooth, Co Kildare, for a potential development, after he told them he was not interested in selling up. He and his family have worked the farm for generations.
In his action, he claims the IDA's decision to acquire his land, after he turned down their offer to buy his property, is flawed.
He claims it is in breach of his property rights and that sections of the 1986 Industrial Development Act, which the authority says gives it the power to acquire Mr Reid's lands, are unconstitutional.
His counsel, Patrick Butler, told the court the 1986 IDA act does not provide for an independent review of the decision to compulsorily acquire land.
In proceedings against the IDA Ireland and the Attorney General, Mr Reid, of Hedsor House, Blakestown, Maynooth, is seeking a number of orders quashing the IDA's decision of November 23 last year, to compulsorily acquire his property.
He is also seeking various declarations, including that provisions of the 1986 Act are unconstitutional and that the IDA failed to engage in an open and fair decision-making process, and predetermined the selection of Mr Reid's property, before deciding to acquire his lands.
Mr Butler said the IDA's decision to acquire the lands was based on a selection process that was carried out by another firm, the PM Group. Chairman of the IDA, Liam O'Mahony, who took part in the decision to acquire Mr Reid's property, is also a director of the PM group, Mr Butler said.
This gives rise to a real apprehension on Mr Reid's part that the PM Group's report was crafted in a manner to support a decision already made by the IDA, Mr Butler added.
Leave to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte (one side only) basis, by Mr Justice Michael Peart, who made the matter returnable to March.