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Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10595
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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For Buachaill please:My elderly fathers home sits next

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For Buachaill please:

My elderly father's home sits next to a burned out building (arson). It was purchased by a developer. The building has had scaffolding around the front of it since it was purchased by the developer about 4 years ago. The scaffolding sits across the sidewalk and forces anyone walking along to walk into the road around it (there is a convenient bus pickup just past this scaffolding). It also makes pulling out of my father's narrow driveway that sits between the two buildings nearly impossible as the scaffolding sits right against the edge of the drive. Is there any law of any kind preventing him from keeping it there? It is an eyesore, the building is not being worked on and has never been worked on since he bought it. And recently a large piece of stone fell from the building onto my father's driveway. The building and the scaffolding are a hazard. I called the council once and got some flaky guy that was useless. I filed an online report and they claimed they never got it. I just want to confront the council or the developer with some ammunition that forces this guy to address the situation. He is around the area as he lives nearby. What law or rights do I have? This is a very dangerous situation as the road is a major thoroughfare between Donegal and Strabane with large lorries going 75 mph. So walking into the road or having difficulty pulling out with the scaffolding impeding it is a hazard.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you

You're very welcome.
1. At the outset, it is a criminal offence to impede a public footpath or to impeded the public highway or road. Here the County Council have public enforcement powers over roads to require anyone with scaffolding erected on a public roadway to take it down. Where the scaffolding is a danger to other road users, as here, the Council have emergency powers to act to make the roadway safe.
2. Secondly, as this building is effectively a Derelict building, there is power for the County council to take the building in charge under the Derelict Sites Act and have the building made safe and boarded up so that it no longer is an eyesore and a nuisance. Here the procedure is that the Council serves an enforcement notice on the owner or occupier and then takes over the building once the 21 day notice period has elapsed. The scaffolding could then be taken down by Council employees.
3. Thirdly, every private citizen has a private right of enforcement of the planning laws. Here erecting scaffolding and leaving it there amounts to "works" constituting development of a site within the meaning of the planning laws. Accordingly, you can take a private civil law action under the planning laws to force the developer to take down the scaffolding which has been there for four years now. This is probably the most effective remedy available to you. However, it will involve the payment of legal costs by you to the extent that you cannot recover them from the developer.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How do I get the council to act on this? What is the best way to try and get some action from them (simply read 1 and 2 out to them)?

4. the best way to get the Council to act on it is to speak to a local county councillor who will act on your behalf. Many decisions of this nature in Donegal County Council & other bodies are highly politicised. Accordingly, you should have someone make representations on your behalf in relation to it. Otherwise it might never happen!
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Buachaill, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 10595
Experience: Barrister 17 years experience
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