Saga over access to green space an 'emotional case'
on 29/09/2012 00:00:00
The action came as Cork City Council was about to proceed with selling two acres of the site to Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Alainn for the building of a new school which has planning permission.
A second and related part of the changes to the Tank Field in Mayfield would see Brian Dillon's GAA club changing the configuration of their present pitches in the field. It involves putting fencing with openings around the pitches, and changing from a licence to a 99-year-lease for the lands, a legal change that facilitates grant-aided funding.
Marie Baker, senior counsel for residents of Mayfield and Montenotte, who have used the Tank Field for years for recreation, said the residents would lose the two acres taken by the gaelscoil and would have less access to the Brian Dillon's area of the field.
Ms Baker said the residents would lose out as they would only continue to use the Tank Field as an indulgence to them.
The senior counsel proceedings had been initiated, at a special sitting of Cork Circuit Court, to have the residents' use of the land asserted as a right rather than an indulgence.
In legal terms, Ms Baker sought "a declaration of the existing right to saunter and wander" at the Tank Field.
Dave Holland, SC for the city council, who referred to the legal dispute as a saga, was opposed to the declaration of this right, challenging the contention they currently have such a right or would be entitled to it.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: "This is a highly emotional case for all parties. I respect the way they [residents] gave evidence. I am tying to twist the prism and look at it from all sides and come up with the fairest decision I can."
He suggested the city council would draft a simple paragraph setting out exactly what use the residents would have of the field
Mr Holland said that attempts were being made to draft a document which would address such issues succinctly and it may be available to the court on Monday.