Cassidy Brothers given to May to plead or contest quarry planning claims

March 28, 2023

A company at the centre of the defective blocks scandal in Co Donegal is to appear in court on May 23rd to enter a plea or to have a date set for hearing over claims of non-compliance with planning conditions.

Solicitors representing Cassidy Brothers Concrete Products Limited appeared before a sitting of Buncrana District Court sitting in Letterkenny today.

The company face prosecution for non-compliance with planning conditions at the firm’s quarry at Gransha in Buncrana.

The firm was served with an enforcement notice on 11 May last year regarding the matter and given 12 weeks to make good on those requirements.

Donegal County Council had demanded that the firm carry out substantial road resurfacing works in the vicinity of the quarry, construct two pedestrian crossings, and widen the junction at the Gransha Road/Looking Glass Brae to accommodate large HGV and lorry traffic.

These were requirements under the planning permission it obtained in June 2020.

The council also demanded the payment in excess of €650,000 in outstanding security bonds and development charges that were due by December 2020.

The firm was given 12 weeks by the council to comply, but failed to do and the council has now sought to lay charges under the Planning and Development Act, 2000.

A summons was issued on the firm on 5 January, with a hearing into the accusation scheduled to come before Judge Éiteáin Cunningham at a sitting of Buncrana District Court on 28 March.

On summary conviction, the company are liable to a fine not exceeding €5,000 For a conviction on indictment, the fine jumps to €12.69 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

The court may, in addition, order that steps required under the enforcement notice be taken.

Cassidy Brothers issued a statement last May saying it was in ongoing discussions with the local authority regarding the enforcement notice.

“Our discussions with council officials are partly based on the fact that extraction at the Gransha quarry is presently ceased, resulting in a very significant reduction in road usage,” the company said in its statement last May, adding: “We will continue to co-operate fully with Donegal County Council.”

The case was called before Judge Eiteain Cunningham today.

Solicitor Fiona Kelly said she was acting as agent for Eamon Dillon Solicitors who are representing Cassidy Brothers Concrete Products Limited.

Ms Kelly said this was the first time the matter was on the court list and sought an adjournment.

Solicitor for Donegal County Council, Kevin McElhinney asked the judge to direct statements in the case.

Judge Cunningham adjourned the case until May 23rd next for a plea or a date for hearing.