Could Compulsory Purchase Order Bill reduce land owners' legal rights?
A new bill is currently moving through the Dáil which will see a legal basis provided to IDA Ireland, the semi-State body responsible for foreign direct investment into Ireland, to compulsorily purchase land following its failed High Court bid to secure land for an Intel extension.
In a high-profile High Court case, the IDA failed to acquire a 72-acre farm next to the Intel plant from farmer Thomas Reid.
While the High Court initially approved the compulsory purchase order (CPO) in 2013, Mr Reid claimed that this had breached his property rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.
On referral to the Supreme Court in 2015, the court ruled in Reid's favour that the IDA has exceeded its power and declared that the agency's CPO mechanisms were outdated.
The Government has now said that the new bill (Industrial Development (Amendment) Bill 2018) addresses the implications of this Supreme Court judgment and will ensure that IDA Ireland can continue to purchase property for the purposes of industrial development.
It says this is essential if the agency is to have the continued capacity to provide the property solutions to companies that will help attract future investments to Ireland, particularly to the regions, and therefore generate jobs throughout the country.
According to the Government, the bill makes it very clear that IDA Ireland can continue to acquire property by agreement - that is, not compulsorily - in circumstances where the property is not for immediate use, and whether or not a specific industrial undertaking has been identified in advance.
The Government has been keen to highlight that the bill does not equip IDA Ireland with strengthened powers, but says the aim is simply to put in place an updated and modernised process that incorporates a full role for An Bord Pleanála in compulsory acquisitions so that IDA Ireland retains its current industrial development property purchasing powers.