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Nuns and Dublin City County clash in court over treatment of 2,000 acres

DUBLIN City Council and the Sisters of Charity have clashed in court over the treatment of 2,000 acres of lands in the city's new development plan.

It follows the Sisters' successful challenge to more restrictive conditions on development of their lands set out in that plan.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke, in a judgment last April, found all the Z15 zoning aspects of the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017, affecting about 2,000 acres, must be quashed but adjourned the exact form of order to be made.

The Z15 zoning must be quashed because the Council failed to give adequate reasons for such "highly restrictive" zoning but the Council could readopt the Z15 zoning or alternative measures only if it set out adequate reasons for that, he stressed.

Arising from the judgment, the lands at issue are effectively unzoned.

About 51 per cent of all Z15 lands are held by religious institutions with the Sisters' lands accounting for about a half per cent of the entire lands in the plan.

Among various claims, the Sisters argued the Z15 designation meant future uses such as housing development were not open for planning consideration with adverse implications for their ability to sell off land to fund their activities. The Council argued Z15 zoning promoted the continuing use of lands as a long term resource for a sustainable city.

Yesterday, the judge heard submissions on the form of the order to be made arising out of his ruling.

He will rule on that order, and on liability for the very substantial costs of the case, on June 27.

The Sisters want all their costs against the Council but it contends it should not have to pay costs of issues on which the Sisters did not succeed.