LAND SETTLEMENT AGREED DESPITE OPPOSITION
A Mitchelstown resident has been awarded approximately an acre of land from Cork County Council as part of a High Court settlement, despite objections from local councillors. The resident, from Coolnanave, was awarded the compensation having taken the council to court over an illegal Traveller settlement at neighbouring council properties.
The resident had claimed the settlement had caused stress, noise and litter pollution and distress to livestock. The Travellers had been moved to the council houses having been moved from their original settlement which was on the route of the Mitchelstown relief road.
Following a long and heated debate in County Hall on Monday, Cork county councillors voted 19-8 in favour of the compensation, despite objections from local councillors Liam O’Doherty, Frank O’Flynn, Kevin O’Keeffe and Aileen Pyne. Council officials refused to answer questions from the councillors who asked if there were any further conditions to the compensation, such as a cash settlement on top of the agriculturally zoned land, valued at €20,000.
Cllr O’Doherty said this week that the decision comes as a disappointment, but the mistake was made by the council when they let more than one caravan on site, and that the situation had run on too long.
Cllr O’Flynn echoed Cllr O’Doherty’s disappointment, saying he had “grave concerns” about how the matter was settled.
“As a public representative I have concerns about how council land and property, paid for by the taxpayer, could be dispensed in this manner,” he told The Avondhu, “I believe that should the council decide to dispense of land or property it should be done by public auction where everyone is given the chance to obtain it. I’m deeply worried about this situation and that is why I voted against it”.
Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe also expressed his disappointment, adding that he has been in contact with the Equality Authority to discuss the ramifications of the verdict for members of the Travelling community.
“I am disappointed that the council have conceded to this High Court judgement but I am more disappointed with my fellow councillors who didn’t vote against it. I think this judgement is unfair to the other neighbouring residents who lived with the problem and were awarded nothing, and the countless others who deal with such problems across the county,” he said.
County manager Martin Riordan has assured members of the council that the settlement with the resident has not created a precedent that will leave Cork County Council vulnerable to further litigation.
Thursday 3rd April 7:02pm