County Development Plan set to be hit with applications for Judicial Reviews

Five applications have been lodged with the High Court as county council waits to be served with papers

Meath County Council’s new development plan, barely a month old, is set to be challenged in High Court proceedings.

The plan, which sets out a development vision for the 230,000 hectare county and its 190,000 population from 2021 to 2027, was adopted by the Council on 22nd September this year and came into effect on 3rd November.

However, five applications for High Court judicial review have been lodged with the court. The applications have been made by Protect East Meath Ltd, Killegland Estates Ltd, McGarrell Reilly Homes Ltd, Alcove Ireland Eight Ltd, Hickwell Ltd (Hickcastle Ltd), and Dolent Properties Ltd. A spokesperson for Meath County Council said that while the council understood that five applications for judicial review had been made, as of last Thursday it had not yet been served with any papers.

Protect East Meath Ltd was set up in 2011 and is based at Julianstown. Killegland Estates Ltd was formed just six months ago and was the purchaser of a parcel of Meath Catholic diocesan land adjacent to Old Killegland graveyard. McGarrell Reilly Homes Ltd is a well known construction and development company. Hickwell Ltd is based at Bracetown Business Park. Alcove Ireland Eight Ltd has been in business 31 years and its main activity is management of real estate on a fee or contract basis.

In the judicial review process, the High Court has the power to supervise the lower courts, tribunals and other administrative bodies (including county councils) to ensure that they make their decisions properly (and fairly) and in accordance with the law. Judicial review is concerned with the decision-making process rather than with the substance of the decision.

The companies/organisations seeking a judicial review on a Meath County Council decision must show that they have “sufficient interest” in the proceedings, that is, that they were affected in some way by the decision they are challenging. They will also have to show that they have an arguable case.

Although the exact grounds for seeking the review are not known at this stage, the county council will have a rough idea as to what decisions made in devising the new county plan will be challenged. In normal times the time between filing the judicial review application and getting a decision from the court on permission is eight weeks. However, the existence of Covid-19 may alter this scenario.