Lawlor widow fails to halt Quarryvale Two

Monday 30 April 2007 10.37
Mahon Tribunal - Quarryvale Two begins on Monday
Mahon Tribunal - Quarryvale Two begins on Monday

The widow of the late TD, Liam Lawlor, has lost her High Court action to prevent the Mahon Planning Tribunal from proceeding with the Quarryvale Two module, which is due to begin on Monday.

Hazel Lawlor, of Somerton House, Lucan in Co Dublin had sought a stay on the start of the module, which will examine the rezoning of land in west Dublin, pending the outcome of judicial review proceedings she is taking.

In those proceedings she was seeking to stop the tribunal making findings of serious misconduct against her and her late husband, unless supported by evidence proven beyond reasonable doubt.

During a three-day hearing this week, Mrs Lawlor's legal team argued that the tribunal had destroyed the life of her husband, herself and her family, and had displayed a vindictive and vengeful attitude towards Mr Lawlor.

She argued that she had been left in dire financial circumstances, with six judgments registered against her late husband's estate by the tribunal for costs.

If a stay were not granted pending the judicial review, she said, irreparable damage could be done to her late husband, his estate, herself and her family.

But lawyers for the tribunal argued that Mrs Lawlor had no legal right to defend the reputation of her late husband.

It also said no allegations had been made against her, and there was nothing to suggest that the tribunal was prejudiced against her. In relation to the judgments, it said no proceedings were in place to enforce them.

While the State argued that there was a significant public interest in the completion of the Mahon Tribunal.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill found that Mrs Lawlor did have legal standing to proceed with her judicial review proceedings on a number of grounds.

But he found that none of the grounds submitted were sufficient to grant a stay on the commencement of the tribunal hearing.

He also said that on the balance of convenience, her application should also fail.

Mrs Lawlor was not the only person to be affected by the tribunal proceeding he said.

Many other claims had been made in the tribunal's opening statement and the people concerned had not been given an opportunity to address them since October 2005, because of other legal action.

He said there was a very great public interest in having the matters before the tribunal dealt with expeditiously.

The Oireachtas had set it up, and both it and the public had a right to see an outcome as soon as possible he said. The longer it went on, the more the quality of the inquiry was susceptible to hazard, he added.

In relation to delay, he said he had the utmost sympathy for Mrs Lawlor in relation to her husband's death and the taking on of the burden.

But he said the proceedings had not been moved on with the required promptness, and could have been progressed a lot sooner.