Monday 19 March 2018

Video: 'Achillhenge' can be demolished: High Court ruling


Tim Healy

A STONEHENGE-like structure built last November on Achill Island without planning permission by developer Joe McNamara can be demolished following a High Court ruling today.

The circular concrete structure, dubbed locally as Achill-henge, had been described by Mr McNamara as "a place for reflection" . He also argued it was an ornamental garden on agricultural lands which was exempt from planning permission.

Mayo Co Council brought High Court proceedings against him after he failed to obey a notice requiring him to cease work on the unauthorised structure.

Last year, Mr McNamara (41) with addresses at Achill Island, Co Mayo and Salthill, Co Galway, was jailed for contempt of court a court order requiring he cease the work. He was released after three days.

Mr McNamara, who was also acquitted on charges of dangerous driving and criminal damage after he drove a cement lorry emblazoned with the words "Anglo" and "toxic bank" at the gates of Leinster House, then appealed to An Bord Plenala against the council's decision that the structure was not exempted development.

The council contended that not only was it not exempt but it had been built close to a protected archaeological site.

Earlier this month, the board turned down his appeal.

Last March, the High Court put a stay on an order requiring the structure to be demolished pending the outcome of the Bord Pleanala appeal.

Today, Patrick Butler SC, for the council, informed Mr Justice Brian McGovern the board had found the structure does constitute development and was not exempt.

Mr Justice McGovern said in those circumstances he was lifting the stay on the High Court orders made last March requiring the structure to be demolished and the site restored to its original state, under the supervision of an ecologist and an archaeologist.

Mr McNamara was not in court today and Mr Butler said notice of the hearing had been served on him by email but there had been no response to it.

Legal sources say Mr McNamara will now be served with notice requiring him to demolish the structure and if he fails to do so, the council will have it done and charge the cost to him.

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