Friday 15 November 2019

Decision to allow demolition of former 'Michael Collins hospital' challenged

Michael Collins
Michael Collins

A LEGAL challenge has been brought against An Bord Pleanala's decision to allow developers demolish a former hospital in Cork where Michael Collins' body was brought after he was shot at Beal na Blath in August 1922.

Last December, the board gave the go ahead to redevelop the site of Shanakiel Hospital, to include the redevelopment of Shanakiel House, which was built in the mid-1700's, and the construction of two new detached dwellings, the High Court heard.

As part of that proposal several structures on the site, including the former hospital building, stables dating back to the 1700's and other ancillary buildings are to be demolished.

In proceedings brought byRaymond Duggan, Knockshedan, Shanakiel, claims the buildings due to be demolished are protected structures.

The board, he claims, misconstructed the scope of what buildings on the site are protected and has failed to recognise that these structures form part of the protected structure.

Mr Duggan's property adjoins the site of the proposed development.

The court heard his family had previously owned the hospital site. In his action, Mr Duggan seeks an order quashing the board's decision to grant planning permission to develop the site.

He further seeks declarations including that in granting permission the planning authority failed to act in accordance with fair procedures and constitutional justice.

Cork City Council and the proposed developer, Progressive Commercial Construction Ltd, are notice parties to the case.

Today, Stephen Dodd Bl, for Mr Duggan, said the Duggan family acquired the property in 1905 and by 1908 converted one of the buildings into a hospital. The hospital treated Irishmen injured in WW1, and was where Michael Collins was brought after he was shot and killed in 1922.

The Duggan family sold the hospital in 2004. In December 2012 it closed after the new owners transferred operations to a new location in the City.

The developers secured permission to restore Shanakiel House to a standalone building for residential use or for use as a medical/consulting facility and build two new dwellings.

In its decision the An Board Pleanala had concluded that Shanakiel House is a protected structure.  It was his client's case that the other structures  on the site also form part of the protected structure.

The board, in allowing the for the partial demolition of buildings on the site, had erred in law and failed to have regard for the definition of protected structure as set out in the 2000 Planning and Development Act.

Counsel added permission can only be granted to demolish part of protected structures in exceptional circumstances. No exceptional circumstances were advanced by the Board, counsel added.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex -parte basis, by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan who said the case could come back before the court in March.

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