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The IDA spent €1.4 million on a failed bid to force a Kildare farmer to sell his land

Thomas Reid went to the Supreme Court to block a compulsory purchase order over his family home.

IRELAND’S INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT agency spent almost €1.4 million in an attempt to try and force a Kildare farmer to sell his land.

Last year the Supreme Court upheld an appeal by Thomas Reid over a compulsory purchase order for his family home issued by IDA Ireland.

The five-judge court overturned an earlier High Court decision, which would have cleared the way for IDA to purchase the site, located beside Intel’s Leixlip facility, for development, against Reid’s wishes.

It has now emerged that the costs associated with the case in which it was ultimately defeated left the IDA with a bill of €1.375 million. It is believed that Reid’s legal fees are also included in this figure as he won the appeal.

A spokesman for the IDA said the agency did not want to comment in detail on the costs of the legal case, such as how much was spent by the IDA compared to Reid or how much was spent during each stage of the process.

Cost of hearing

However, the spokesman said that the agency “would point out that the majority of the costs relate to the holding of an oral hearing which formed a core part of the compulsory purchase order process, which enabled all parties to be legally represented and air their views on the proposed transaction, including the landowner”.

When asked why the IDA fought so hard to acquire the site, the spokesman said that the agency “believed the lands were well-suited to substantial industrial development and job creation”.

“The Supreme Court made its decision, which the IDA fully respects, and therefore IDA will not be re-visiting these lands,” he said.

The IDA also noted that the Department of Jobs “is considering the implications of the judgment and may bring forward legislative amendments if necessary”.

Compulsory purchase 

The compulsory purchase order over the property located in Blakestown, north Kildare, was the first the agency had used since 1988. It is believed that Reid turned down a multi-million euro offer from the agency for the property.

The building, located on 72 acres of land, is situated between the Carton House estate in Maynooth and Intel’s facility in Leixlip.

The IDA is allowed to use compulsory purchase orders if it thinks that development is likely to take place at the site.

Initially, the High Court sided with the IDA. Although the judges expressed sympathy with Reid, it was deemed that the potential benefit from more employment at the site outweighed his interests.

However, when Reid appealed to the Supreme Court this decision was overturned. The IDA did not reference Intel, or any other company, in any public discussions in reference to the use of the site.

In the Supreme Court, the judges ruled that the IDA’s powers of compulsory purchase did not give it the power to buy land it had no immediate use for.

As the panel deemed that the land was not immediately needed by the IDA and was instead to be set aside for future development, the court sided with Reid.

Reid has lived in the house, which has been in his family since the early 1900s, for his entire life.

Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on Fora.ie

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