The ESB received a slap on the wrist from the Court of Appeal on Monday July 11th for wrongful procedure regarding how it served notice to access lands.
In a case that might have resonance with landowners across the country, it was found that while the Board of ESB has the power to delegate the issuing of wayleave notices to its chief executive, the CE was not entitled to delegate these powers onto others.
The case was brought before a three-judge Court of Appeal by Killross Properties, which contended that the ESB had unlawfully entered its land to carry out work on electricity lines. According to Mr Justice Cregan the wayleave notice, dated June 28th 2013, was served “by a person who had no lawful authority to do so”.
It was signed by Eoin Waldron who was supposedly an authorised officer of the Board but who in fact, had been appointed by the chief executive. Mr Waldron therefore had no legal right to execute the duty he had been given. The other two judges agreed with Mr Justice Cregan's assessment.
The ESB and Eirgrid used the wayleave notice in question to access lands owned by Killross, in order to erect temporary lines during upgrading work on the Dunfirth-Kinnegad-Rinawade 110kv electricity line. The temporary lines have since been removed.
The case is part of a wider dispute involving Killross Properties, the ESB and Eirgrid, about an alleged agreement between the parties with regard to supplying electricity for a new town centre, which Killross planned to construct on lands it acquired in 2007. The Court of Appeal did not touch on these issues.