From today's Irish Times
Dartmouth Square park owner back in court
The owner of Dartmouth Square park in south Dublin yesterday gave a continuing undertaking to the High Court not to park more than two cars there.
Noel O'Gara, Ballinahowen Court, Athlone, Co Westmeath, was told by Mr Justice John MacMenamin that if he wants to launch a challenge to the constitutionality of the planning laws, he must bring appropriate legal proceedings.
If he wished to judicially review the legality of the planning acts, Mr Justice MacMenamin added that he must do so by firstly issuing plenary proceedings.
He directed Mr O'Gara to swear an affidavit of evidence before tomorrow.
He also granted him a week from that date to issue a summons and a further 14 days to serve a statement of claim against Dublin City Council. The case is due to resume before the High Court on October 9th.
Mr O'Gara and a company, Marble and Granite Tiles Ltd, the registered owner of the park, have previously been restricted from parking more than two vehicles in the park at Ranelagh, south Dublin. This followed the granting of a temporary High Court order earlier this month, which was subsequently extended.
Under the terms of the order, both vehicles parked there must be the property of either Mr O'Gara, a director of the company, or of the company itself. Mr O'Gara yesterday undertook to continue to abide by the terms of the order.
Carol O'Farrell, counsel for the local authority, told the court yesterday that Mr O'Gara had come to court hoping to join the Attorney General to the proceedings.
This was with a view to challenging the legality of the planning acts, she said, but the procedure he had adopted was not appropriate.
In the circumstances, it was not appropriate for the court to consider the constitutionality of Section 150 of the Planning and Development Act, under which Dublin City Council had obtained the injunction restraining Mr O'Gara from parking cars in the park.
Mr O'Gara, who spoke on his own behalf in court yesterday, said he had not yet filed an affidavit as he wished to first obtain the court's consent to join the Attorney General to his proceedings.
He added that he had " a very clear defence" as a landowner, which he said required the Attorney General to be joined in that defence. He was asking the court to give him the opportunity to make that defence, he said.
Dublin City Council applied for the injunction to restrain the parking of cars on Dartmouth Square after Mr O'Gara opened the gates to the park and offered all-day parking at €10 per car earlier this month.
This led to protests and a blockade from local residents.
Mr O'Gara has previously said he bought the park for "a bargain price, under £10,000" from Patrick Darley, whose family had owned it for more than 150 years.
He has also said he is willing to negotiate with the council, and would be looking for €175 million for the park.
© The Irish Times