Woman seeks injunction reversing Malahide pedestrianisation
Posted on 9th August 2021 at 22:44
Applicant claims move has created traffic issues and led to anti-social behaviour
The High Court has reserved judgement on an application for an injunction reversing Fingal County Council’s decision to pedestrianise part of Malahide village in north Co Dublin.
The court in June granted permission to company director Nicola Byrne to bring a challenge against the council’s decision to pedestrianise New Street, which commenced over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
The council, which says the measures arise out of the Covid-19 pandemic and are temporary in nature, pedestrianised the street in order to facilitate outdoor dining and aid social distancing during the summer. The street had previously been pedestrianised between June and November of last year.
Ms Byrne, who lives on nearby Old Street, Malahide, claims the council’s decision is flawed and should be set aside as it lacks the legal authority to implement the development.
She also seeks various orders including injunctions stopping the council from pedestrianising the street, and diverting traffic in Malahide, and reserving all steps it has taken in these regards. She seeks to have the injunctions remain in place until her full High Court judicial review action has been determined.
The council rejects the claims and opposes both the injunction application and Ms Byrne’s full legal challenge.
The application for the injunctions came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday. Following the conclusion of submissions from both parties, the judge said he was reserving his position and hoped to give his judgement on the injunction application at some stage this week.
In her judicial review action against the council and the Minister for Local Government, Ireland and the Attorney General, Ms Byrne seeks various orders and declarations. These include orders quashing the local’ authorities’ decision to pedestrianise New Street and declarations that the decision was invalid.
In her action Ms Byrne, represented by Alan Doyle BL, claims the pedestrianisation of New Street has seen additional traffic being put onto narrow and unsuitable streets, which were supposed to be prioritised for cycling and walking.
During the period, it is claimed, the pedestrianisation has resulted in significant complaints to gardaí of alleged anti-social behaviour by groups of youths drinking and doing bicycle stunts.
Counsel said the injunction was required as Ms Byrne’s action may not be heard this year and may become moot or pointless because the justification for the pedestrianisation may have expired by the time it is heard. She claims that in such a scenario the council will have achieved its outdoor summer, without having to comply with various legal requirements.
In reply, James Doherty SC for the council said that Ms Byrne’s application for the injunctions did not reach the high threshold required to allow the court to grant the order sought. She had not made out that she has a strong case likely to succeed, and the court should dismiss her application, counsel said.
The council claims that it took the steps in order to provide safe outdoor spaces to facilitate social distancing. The council does not accept its decision has resulted in a traffic hazard as alleged by Ms Byrne.
Nor does it accept that the pedestrianisation has resulted in anti-social behaviour. It also claims that the decisions this year and last to pedestrianise the street were taken following consultation with various stakeholders and local residents. The council also rejects claims that the decision is legally flawed.
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