A BENCH warrant issued for the arrest of a married couple who were convicted of breaching planning regulations relating to the non-payment of development contributions was withdrawn four days later when their initial failure to appear in court was blamed on a misunderstanding.
Limerick City Council initiated proceedings against Patrick and Suzanne Kennedy of Clorane House, Kildimo last year over outstanding contributions, which Limerick Court heard was owed to the local authority.
Sean Moran, a planning enforcement officer with Limerick City Council, told the court that the defendants were granted planning permission in September 2012 relating to a change of use at a block of four terraced houses at Wellington Terrace, O’Connell Avenue.
According to planning records, permission was granted to “retain change of use of all four buildings in the terrace from creche to office use on all three floor levels except basement level of No. 2”.
Mr Moran said one of the conditions of the permission was that Mr and Mrs Kennedy pay €29,057 in development contributions to the local authority.
He told solicitor Gerard Reidy, representing Limerick City Council, that a letter was written to the defendants in November 2012 and that an enforcement notice was served on them in March, 2013 requiring them to pay the outstanding contributions.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told that no payments had been made to date.
After recording a decree against the defendants, the judge awarded the local authority costs of €250 relating to the prosecution.
Noting that neither of the defendants were present in court, he issued a bench warrant for their arrest.
However, at a subsequent hearing this Tuesday, Judge O’Kelly was told that the Kennedys’ failure to appear in court last Friday was as a result of a misunderstanding over what was to be dealt with by the court that day.
After hearing from Pat McHugh, of Wallace Reidy Solicitors, representing the local authority, Judge O’Kelly struck out the matter, with liberty to re-enter it within 12 months.