'Our privacy and security have been compromised' - Pat Kenny's fury about drone flight over his Dalkey home
Pat Kenny complained to gardai after a drone flew over his Dalkey home, another development in the broadcaster's increasingly bitter battle with the company developing an apartment complex next door to his house.
The formal written complaints by Mr Kenny and his wife, Kathy, to the gardai, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) follow in February of this year, Bartra Capital commissioning a drone firm to carry out survey work on the Kennys’ property as part of its plans for its apartment and housing development on a site adjacent to the Kenny property.
In their written complaint to Supt Martin Fitzgerald at Dún Laoghaire Garda Station on March 26, the Kennys claimed that the drone survey “interfered with our right to privacy, it compromised our security - location of our security cameras, vehicle registrations plates, etc”.
They added: “As you may be aware, we have had threatening situations at our home in the past and we place the highest priority on security.
“This intrusion is all the more worrying as we do not know what information they have gathered and with whom it may have been shared.
The letter concluded therefore “we wish to make a formal complaint” against the following - Bartra Capital Property; McGill Planning and the drone firm.
On February 25, Bartra's planning consultants, McGill Planning, told the appeals board that the drone survey was carried out with Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) permission and according to IAA restrictions.
McGill Planning also stated: “The surveying was also carried out in accordance with GDPR.”
McGill Planning said on Thursday: “This office had no role in the surveying or design work carried out by/on behalf of the applicant.”
In their complaint to Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon on March 25, the Kennys told her that “as people who have, in the past, been subject to threatening behaviour at our property, some of which has been well publicised”, the use of the drone “is a matter of grave concern to us”.
The Kennys asked Ms Dixon to take the appropriate action, under the GDPR legislation against the parties involved.
“We also ask you to ensure that all information gathered, including that disseminated by An Bord Pleanála, is destroyed.”
In a separate letter to the appeals board, the Kennys state that the drone survey which obtained elevations from their ‘Anchorage’ home “was done without our permission and in direct defiance from us to Bartra on February 19th 2019”.
They stated that neither the drone firm, nor McGill Planning, nor Bartra “nor anyone representing them sought our permission for this overflight”.
They claimed that as a result, “our privacy and security have been compromised”.
They state that the “registration numbers of our vehicles, locations of our security cameras, possibly our movement patterns” may now be in the possession of the appellants and their agents".
Bartra Capital commissioned the work by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) after the Kennys turned down a request from a representative from Bartra Capital to enter their property to carry out survey work on the basis that the firm should lodge fresh plans for the Bartra site.
The Kennys only became aware of the drone survey after receiving a planning submission by Bartra’s planning consultants, McGill Planning, to An Bord Pleanála shortly after after the survey took place.
The drone survey provided ground and roof levels of the Kenny property in response to Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council concerns that Bartra had not clearly indicated the correct site levels of the Kenny and other adjoining properties to the development site.
The complaints by the Kennys are included in a submission to An Bord Pleanála which has now been made available by the board.
This follows the appeals board earlier this week giving planning permission to Bartra Capital for 18 apartments and six homes on a site adjacent to the Kennys’ ‘Anchorage’ home.
The appeals board gave the contentious plan the green light in spite of vehement opposition by the Kennys to the proposal and the strong recommendation of a board inspector to refuse planning permission.
Bartra Capital have been contacted for comment while a Garda spokesman said that Garda were not able to respond to a query on a Garda complaint “as An Garda Síochána does not comment on named individuals”.