Sandymount cycle route: Nearly a year on, still no date for Court of Appeal decision

Just under 11 months have passed since the final Court of Appeal hearing on the case of the Strand Road cycle route, but a written judgment has yet to be published and nobody can say when it might be published.

The case regarding the planned cycle route linking central Dublin and Dún Laoghaire via Sandymount has national significance as it is an appeal to the first legal challenge concerning Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1994, as amended by Section 46 of the Public Transportation Regulation Act 2009.

Section 38 is the central legal provision to allow councils to make roads and streets safer and more attractive for walking and cycling and provide bus priority measures.

The Strand Road project which included making the road one-way for motorists was supposed to be a 6-month trial and start in 2020. It was delayed until 2021 when the High Court case was taken against it.

At one stage the appeal case was expected to be heard in June 2022 and the council expected a judgement later that year. After the Court hearings were finished 11 months ago, it was then expected that the judgement might be published ahead of last summer.

The case overall has been going on for so long that it is even referenced in guidelines for environmental assessments for transport projects, the NTA Guidance for EIA and AA Screening.


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The appeal case taken by Dublin City Council is against the High Court ruling in favour of Peter Carvill, of the Serpentine Avenue, Tritonville and Claremont Roads (STC) group, and Cllr Mannix Flynn (independent) who took the case against the council.

The High Court Case was heard by Justice Charles Meenan in 2021. Justice Meenan was last year appointed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal hearing was presided over by High Court President David Barniville, now Supreme Court Justice Maurice Collins, and Justice Mary Faherty,

President of the High Court, David Barniville, said it was a “critical issue” in the High Court judgement that it was not accepted that the Strand Road trial was temporary even after a start date and a 6-month timeframe were outlined by the council in its traffic signs order and elsewhere. Justice Collins also said that it is significant for the council and Brendan O’Brien, head of the council’s transport department, that his evidence was dismissed by the High Court without reason.

Court of Appeal Justices also complained about the lack of Government guidelines covering Section 38 of the Road Traffic Acts. This was fixed last October when new guidelines clarified Irish councils’ powers to install cycling and bus priority measures permanently or as a trial under Section 38.

The Strand Road 6-month trial start date was proceeded by public consultation, but the new guidelines outlined how public consultation only needs to start during any such trial.

Responding today, after a number of requests for comment on the likely judgement data and the reason for the delay the Court of Appeal said: “As you are not a party to these proceedings the Office of the Court of Appeal cannot give you this information”.

The Court of Appeal referred this website to the Court Services’s media relations office. A spokesperson at the Court Service’s media office said: “I do not see a date has been set yet for delivery of the reserved judgment in this case.”

When asked if it was aware of a likely judgment date, a spokesperson for Dublin City Council, which is a party to the case, said it had no update on the case.

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7 comments

  1. Bonkers- what a fiasco!

    There is plenty of road space for at least standard painted cycle lanes to protect cyclists while the court makes up its mind. From a safety point of view this should have been implemented years ago.

    Reply
      • I dunno, at the lower end there is plenty of space- very wide there.

        At the top end they could certainly include a one way going south, either on the road or the very wide footpath.
        Or they could use the footpaths in front of the car parks as they are rarely used. Or they could allow a one way on the prom itself. Plenty of temporary options from a safety point of view.

        Reply

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