Rathbane Halting Site
A TRAVELLER who built horse sheds without planning permission at a Limerick halting site has been convicted of breaking planning laws.
Limerick City and County Council prosecuted Patrick Casey, aged 39, of Toppins Field, Rathbane over his failure to comply with the terms of an enforcement notice which was served on him more than two years ago.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told the father-of-nine has been a tenant at the halting site since 1999 and that the sheds are located in an unused bay.
Planning inspector Michael O'Brien said he first became aware of the sheds in 2015 and that he subsequently wrote to Mr Casey advising him they were not authorised and would have to be removed.
He said the local authority intends developing group housing at the halting site and that the council, as the landowner, would not consent to any application for the retention of the sheds.
Mr Casey told the court he has been keeping horses at the halting site throughout his tenancy and that he “winters” the animals in the sheds to keep them warm.
He said he had initially used a container for the horses but built a “lean-to” and walls in recent years.
Mr Casey said the council has built sheds for other tenants at the halting site and that “noone else is getting any bother”.
In response, solicitor Will Leahy said the local authority is entitled to deal with other tenants “as it sees fit” and that it was none of Mr Casey’s business.
He noted that Mr Casey has not sought to refer the matter to An Bord Pleanala and he said he is entitled to rent lands elsewhere to keep horses.
Solicitor Darach McCarhy said his client was unaware of the council’s plans to develop group housing at the halting site and that he has been “caught between a rock and a hard place” given the importance of horses to members of the Travelling community.
Having convicted the defendant, Judge O’Leary adjourned the matter to this Tuesday to allow for proposals to be put forward relating to the removal of the sheds.