Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 March 2018

How one farmer fought an epic battle to stop the CPO of his farm

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Lonely Battle Of Thomas Reid, a new feature documentary by Feargal Ward will have its Irish Premiere on Saturday February 24 in Light House Cinema, Dublin as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival.

The film tells the story of Thomas Reid, a Co. Kildare farmer who fought an epic legal battle against the Irish State.

When his farm in Leixlip was the subject of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Thomas decided to risk everything by challenging the state body in a battle through the courts.

The film presents a unique insight into his struggle to hold on to his lands and home in the face of considerable odds.

In 2015, Thomas Reid of Hedsor House in Kildare won a Supreme Court appeal against a decision by the High Court to allow the IDA to compulsorily acquire land he and his family had worked for more than a century.

He sued the IDA and the State after an order was granted permitting the development agency to acquire the 72-acre property, which includes a farm and the Reid family home.

Mr Reid did not want to sell his land. He claimed the decision to allow the acquisition of it was flawed and unfair and breached his property rights as well as his rights under the Constitution and European Convention of Human Rights.

The IDA had argued it was entitled to acquire Mr Reid's lands under powers granted in the 1986 Industrial Development Act.

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But the Supreme Court found that the making of the compulsory purchase order in 2012 for Mr Reid's lands had gone beyond the powers of the Act.

Director Feargal Ward said “It’s great to have the opportunity to bring this film to IDFA and to introduce Thomas Reid’s story to a wider audience. The subject matter at the centre of this film - the extent to which the State will go to facilitate the interests of global corporations -  is both an important issue of our time and of this country; and one I was instantly drawn to explore.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that the IDA is to be handed newly-enhanced powers to compulsorily purchase land after its previous failure to acquire land for tech giant Intel in Kildare.

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