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Judge wants mediation for residents who claim their houses were damaged by children's hospital works

They are seeking orders including an injunction preventing works being done.

Plans for the new children's hospital at the St James's site.
Plans for the new children's hospital at the St James's site.
Image: NCH

A HIGH COURT judge has urged parties involved in a row over damage allegedly caused to houses located near the site of the new National Children’s Hospital in Dublin to consider going to mediation.

The comments were made by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan after proceedings taken by several residents from the O’Reilly Avenue, Ceannt Fort and Mount Brown areas against the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board and BAM Civil Limited, the firm which is building the hospital, came before the court.

The residents, who live close to St James’s Hospital in Dublin where the new €1 billion children’s hospital is being constructed, claim their homes have been damaged as a result of certain works being carried out by the defendants.

They are seeking orders including an injunction preventing works being done on the site until steps are taken to remediate and protect houses adjoining the construction site from sustaining any further damage.

Today Shane Murphy SC for BAM told the court that if an injunction is granted it could potentially result in the cessation of all construction works on the site of the new hospital.

Jarlath Fitzsimons SC for the development board said that his side was prepared to mediate the dispute rather than fight the injunction application before the court.

John Rogers SC for the residents denied that the residents are seeking orders that would stop all works on the site.

His clients do not want the children’s hospital project held up. What they are seeking is that steps be taken by the defendants to protect his client’s properties from sustaining any further damage, counsel said.

There was clear evidence that his clients properties have already suffered “very significant damage” caused by the construction work already done on the site.

Counsel added his clients welcomed any offer to mediate the dispute.

However the difficulty is that the defendants wished to continue with works close to their properties before carrying out the remedial works the resident’s engineering expert says is necessary to protect their properties.

In the circumstances counsel said his clients want to proceed with their application for an injunction.

Mr Justice Gilligan adjourned the matter to Friday morning, and told the sides that a judge would be made available to hear the application.

He said that while he was not expressing a view on the application, the National Children’s Hospital was one of the biggest projects ever undertaken in the city of Dublin.

The judge said he did have sympathy for anyone whose homes have been damaged and the “difficult position” the residents found themselves in.

However the granting of an injunction in this case would, the judge said,  have “very serious repercussions.”

He asked that the defendants’ offer of mediating the dispute be considered by the residents in advance of Friday’s hearing.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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