Late last week a little reported and relatively innocuous sounding High Court Judgement was issued which has the potential to have profound implications for the Irish planning system – and the planning profession, for that matter. The case concerned the construction of a small timber dwelling and private waste water treatment system in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty without planning permission near Lough Dan, County Wicklow. Following a lengthy enforcement process Mr. Justice Hogan quashed an order to have the house demolished ruling that the landowner had an inviolable constitutional right to her home under Section 40.5 of the Constitution.
There has been a longstanding set of principles in the Irish legal system whereby the judiciary only involve themselves in matters of procedural legality and not the substantive matters of individual planning cases. In this instance the house had previously being refused planning permission by both Wicklow County Council
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