Bullock group start fundraising for judicial review of harbour development

by Gary Ibbotson
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The Bullock Harbour Preservation Association has announced it has begun fundraising to file for a judicial review of An Bord Pleanala’s (ABP) decision to grant planning permission for a property development on Bullock Harbour.

Earlier this month ABP granted permission to Bartra Capital Property Group to build three, three storey villas, two apartments as well as number of other buildings such as a café on the iconic south Dublin harbour.

At the time of the decision, Bartra CEO Mike Flannery said this “marks a positive day for Bullock Harbour and Bartra looks forward to enhancing the environs of Bullock Harbour on the back of this decision.”

However, local residents who have opposed the development since Bartra originally submitted its proposals have announced they will be attempting to file for a judicial review of the granted planning permission.

In a statement, the association said: “We have been inundated with communications by the members of the public expressing their amazement, disbelief and outrage at the findings of ABP. 

“We have been pressed very hard and strongly encouraged to take this action by the enormity of the response, particularly on social media by supporters both at home and abroad.

“The findings of ABP in contravention of very powerful refusals by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, objections by An Taisce, Dublin Port Company, Dalkey Community Council, County Councillors and T.Ds (…) and most tellingly by the strong report of their own Inspector advocating refusal, leads us to question the democracy of this system which can override such well qualified bodies in the field.”

“With the overwhelming support and encouragement of the public and offers of financial support BHPA are therefore bringing Judicial review proceedings in the High Court to challenge the decision and will launch a fundraising campaign to continue support for this effort,” the group concluded.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP) said at the time that he was “shocked and outraged” at ABP’s decision and the development is “utterly inappropriate.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett added that the development will “effectively turn the harbour” into a private area.

However, such reviews overseen by the High Court are often costly and lengthy affairs.

Deputy Boyd Barrett is a member of the Save our Seafront organisation and says the group’s campaign to stop large cruise ships docking in Dun Laoghaire Harbour took between “six and eight months.”

“In our case Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company withdrew because they reckoned, they couldn’t beat our case. So, we were lucky in that regard.

“The actual review and the courts, we never got to because they withdrew.

“So, it could potentially go on longer and if there were appeals and if you had to go all the way to Europe, you could be talking a lot longer than that,” he said.

Deputy Boyd Barrett also said that such campaigns are also financially expensive, adding: “You could be talking in excess of €100,000 if you had to go to court, lost, appealed you had to go to Europe. But certainly, you’re talking about tens of thousands of euro just to get to the first stage of the judicial review.”

Bullock Harbour was damaged last year during Storm Emma as boulders were picked up by storm waves and thrown into the pier.

The decision by ABP follows news that the repair works, which were originally scheduled to be completed by April, have been delayed.

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