Lord Inchiquin Conor O’Brien has lodged an objection to a planning application by Dromoland Castle Holdings Ltd, who are seeking to bore three wells to service the castle.
The company is seeking planning permission for the provision of a new potable water source serving Dromoland Castle. This would consist of three bored wells and ancillary infrastructure, including a sunken storage tank; underground contact tank; service building; pump system and all ancillary site development works. The development is proposed within the grounds of Dromoland Castle, which is a protected structure.
In his objection letter to the application, Lord Inchiquin states that the application relates to an extraction of water by borehole from a watersource that extends in a defined channel under his land and which is accordingly subject to a natural right of reservation of that source attaching to his land and forming part thereof.
He outlined that the water source is the subject of High Court proceedings between Lord Inchiquin and Dromoland Castle Holdings Ltd. He stated that “the underground water that is the subject of the application forms part of my land and I have not given consent to this application”.
His objection stated that the application failed to identify a way-leave that is the subject of a deed dated March 1, 1963 between Lord Inchiquin and the applicant’s predecessor Bernard McDonough, which “governs the supply of water from [Lord Inchiquin’s] land on a limited basis to serve the applicant’s structures”.
Lord Inchiquin goes on to state, “The applicant is requesting the planning authority to sanction an unlawful development, which is a wrongful interference with my property rights”.
He suggests that the “proposed water supply development is premature, ill considered and inappropriate”.
An Taisce lodged a submission to the same file, in which they state that the aquifer is at “great risk from pollution by slurry and wastewater”.
“It would be much more appropriate to carry out an extensive study to assess the resources, rather than charging in to drill boreholes,” Anny Wise of the Clare Association of An Taisce said.
She requested that further information be sought in relation to the aquifer and the impact on the possible special area of conservation (SAC) Fergus or other water supplies.
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht also made a submission to the application and noted that the development is large in scale and lies close to several recorded monuments within the medieval estate of Dromoland Castle. It recommended that further archaeological investigation should be carried out as part of the development.
This week, the planning authority requested further information from the applicant on nine grounds.These included that the applicant inform the council that it has sufficient legal interest or written consent from the relevant landowner, including for way-leaves and way-leaves from any water sources on the adjoining property.
The authority also noted that the hotel has a connection to the public water main and it is intended to use the proposed borehole as a potable supply. It asked if the applicant intended to apply to Irish Water to be disconnected from the public main.
Further information was also sought in the form of details of the proposed well construction; a noise impact report; a revised site layout plan showing the extent of way-leaves; further analysis and details relating to the abstraction on the aquifer, the ground water body status, both in terms of quality and recharge, and the downstream effects on the designated European site.