Council request Lakepoint issue be struck out

Judge David Anderson has once again refused to deal with the failure of a developer to comply with building regulations at a Mullingar housing estate.

“I refused and that’s the end of it,” said the judge, who heard in April that there had been poor workmanship at Block D, The Oaks, Lakepoint, Mullingar.

In April, Judge Anderson said the offence was not minor and refused to hear it in the District Court. He heard substantial evidence of serious deficiencies in fire safety controls.

At that time, Westmeath County Council’s building control officer described how despite a number of requests, necessary works had not been carried out to make the buildings safe.

Each time attempts were made, greater problems became apparent.

In 2006 the council had declared itself satisfied that works were completed to rectify known breaches of building regulations at the time, but further breaches emerged and the council was in court seeking to have an enforcement application heard against the developer, Castlepride, which has its registered offices in Maynooth.

Insurance was withdrawn from the development.

Regan McEntee solicitors, who handle planning cases for Westmeath County Council took the case back to the Director of Public Prosecutions and told the judge at the recent sitting of Mullingar District Court that the DPP was happy for the case to proceed in the District Court.

“I refused and that’s the end of it,” the judge said in response.

Mr McEntee asked if he would consider overruling his previous order but the judge refused.

“I’m not going to do that,” he said.

Mr McEntee said the fire officer was in a position to give further information about the condition of The Oaks where there were difficulties with party walls and a lack of firestops.

“Are there people still on the premises?” he asked and Mr McEntee said there were.

“That’s why I refused,” said the judge.

When Mr McEntee said that perhaps he hadn’t had all the information he needed to make the decision, the judge replied that “I had plenty of information”.

“The happiness of the DPP is no concern of mine,” he said. “This is not a minor offence.”

He gave the council the option of adjourning for a book of evidence or striking out the case and after consultation, David McEntee said it would take more than six weeks to prepare a book of evidence for the Circuit Court and applied for a strike out.

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