Council criticised over court actions
CO. MANAGER REJECTS ADJOURNMENTS CLAIM
COUNTY Manager Eddie Breen ' totally rejects' claims that Wexford County Council's legal representatives are not tough enough when it comes to opposing applications for adjournments from developers responsible for unfinished estates.
The issue was raised last week by Cllr Malcolm Byrne, who told his colleagues 'I don't believe that the council's legal team object enough' to applications for adjournments from developers being prosecuted for estates not completed to the required standards.
'Some adjournments are justified, but many are not and frequently the council doesn't object,' said Cllr Byrne.
He said that a recent sitting of Gorey District Court not a single application for adjournment in planning prosecution cases was objected to by the council's legal representatives.
Senior Planner Diarmuid Houston said that is not county council policy to 'facilitate people continually seeking adjournments'.
'We do sit down and talk to people to try and resolve problems, which can lead to delays,' he added, pointing out that it can take time to make the estates in question compliant with the grants of planning, which means adjournments are inevitable.
However, Cllr Byrne was not convinced by that argument and said that ' the judiciary is not taking the concerns of residents into account'. Cllr Byrne said there are good developers, who co-operate with the council, and there are those whom it can take a substantial amount of time, even years, to get before a court, which he said is 'reprehensible and not acceptable'.
County Manager Eddie Breen came to the defence of the council's legal team and told Cllr Byrne they 'do not sit passively by as adjournments are granted as there is more money in it for them'.
'I totally reject that,' said Mr Breen. 'Wexford County Council has a proud record and the judiciary has supported the council more often than not against developers we've brought to court.'
He also pointed out that 'most developers brought to court end up paying the council's costs as well as their own'.