Joint Pressure by Stagg and Guinness Pays Off with Purchase of Batty Langley Lodge by State

Issued : Wednesday 6 December, 2006
Areas : Celbridge/Leixlip

Deputy Emmet Stagg has warmly welcomed the decision by the State to purchase Batty Langley Lodge and grounds at Castletown, Celbridge, for the benefit of the people of Celbridge and Leixlip and the wider community of North Kildare.

The decision follows consistent pressure for the purchase of the Lodge and surrounding 12 acres of land by Deputy Emmet Stagg and his direct intervention with Minister of State Tom Parlon T.D. who agreed to meet with Deputy Stagg and Mr. Desmond Guinness to discuss the purchase of the property by the State. The agreement to the meeting by the Minister of State obviously stirred on the Office of Public Works to enter into real negotiations with Mr. Guinness and this has paid off with the agreement to purchase the property.

Speaking to Mr. Desmond Guinness this morning Mr. Guinness thanked Deputy Stagg for all his efforts in reaching agreement on the purchase of the property by the State.

In relation to the Enforcement Action taken by Kildare Co. Council to restore the Right of Way from Castletown to Parsonstown via Batty Langley Lodge Deputy Stagg indicated that workers had removed fencing in the past 2 weeks and that one of the Rights of Way is now open. The remainder of the fencing is expected to be removed shortly. This along with the purchase of the property is great news for the Castletown Action Group who have played a major part in this campaign.

In conclusion Deputy Stagg looked forward to the closure of the sale and the reintegration of Batty Langley Lodge and grounds into Castletown Estate.


31st October, 2006 - Parlon agrees to meet Stagg and Guinness as further Enforcement Notice issued in relation to Right of Way at Batty Langley Lodge - Following contact from Deputy Emmet Stagg, Minister of State Tom Parlon has agreed to meet with Mr. Desmond Guinness and Deputy Emmet Stagg to explore the Purchase by the State of Batty Langley Lodge and Grounds at Castletown, Celbridge.

Deputy Stagg sought the meeting following agreement from Mr. Desmond Guinness that he was prepared to discuss the position with the Minister of State and in light of a previous response to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Deputy Stagg and answered by Minister Parlon which indicated no great interest in acquiring the property to consolidate Castletown Estate.

In a related development Kildare Co. Council have advised Deputy Stagg that they have issued a further Enforcement Notice on Mr. Desmond Guinness dated 25th October in relation to the Restoration of the Public Right of Way at Castletown, Celbridge, via Batty Langley Lodge to Parsonstown (Barnhall), Leixlip.

The Enforcement notice stated Deputy Stagg states that Mr. Guinness must (A) halt all works on the lands within a day of the notice being served (B) within one month of the notice, remove the unauthorised perimeter metal security fence and gates (C) within one month of the notice, restore the established right of way linking the Parsonstown area with Castletown House and its riverside (D) within one month of the notice, remove the unauthorised wall located to the northern side of the entrance gate to Batty Langley Lodge from Parsonstown (E) preserve Batty Langley Lodge and its attendant grounds to the satisfaction of the planning authority (F) within one month of the notice, restore the Ice House on the site to the satisfaction of the planning authority.

Deputy Stagg stated that he would contact Mr. Guinness in relation to organising the meeting with Minister Parlon and at the same time ask him to comply with the requirements of the Enforcement Order.


4th October, 2006 - Stagg Annoyed at Lacklustre Response from Parlon over Purchase of Batty Langley Lodge -
Deputy Emmet Stagg wrote to the Minister of State for Finance Tom Parlon in August pointing out that the purchase of Batty Langley Lodge near Castletown, Celbridge, by Dr. Tony Ryan had fallen through and requesting the Minister of State to reopen negotiations with the owner Mr. Desmond Guinness, with a view to the State purchasing the property.

In writing to Minister Parlon Deputy Stagg drew attention to the fact that agreement had been reached in 1996 for the State to purchase the property but that the deal had fallen through and in the context of consolidating Castletown Demesne the acquisition of the property would be desirable. Deputy Stagg also pointed out that the purchase of the property by the State would remove any further threat to the Public Right of Way from Castletown House to Parsonstown.

Responding to Deputy Stagg in the Dail on September 27th Minister Parlon advised that whilst there may be some merit in acquiring Batty Langley Lodge to strengthen the integrity of Castletown Demesne, its acquisition is not considered essential. The Minister further advised that no negotiations are taking place for the purchase of the property but that the matter will be kept under review.

Deputy Stagg stated that he was annoyed at the lacklustre response from Minister Parlon who was effectively putting the purchase of the property on the back burner. Deputy Stagg further stated that this was a golden opportunity to purchase the property for the people of the State before some rich millionaire comes in and snaps it up.

In conclusion Deputy Stagg stated that he intended to contact Mr. Desmond Guinness to see if he would be interested in meeting Mr. Parlon along with Deputy Stagg to see if we could generate a momentum to purchase the property.

2nd August, 2006 - Restoration of Public Right of Way Proving Successful - Following on from the serving of an Enforcement Notice last May, Deputy Emmet Stagg has now been advised by Kildare Co. Council that there is progress in relation to the Restoration of the Public Right of Way at Castletown, Celbridge, via Batty Langley Lodge to Parsonstown (Barnhall), Leixlip.

The Council have advised Deputy Stagg as follows:

•The ownership change has now apparently been abandoned, and the actual owner would therefore appear to be Desmond Guinness.
•The developer of the fence and wall is willing to remove these, and has been requested to do so without delay.
•The closure of the alleged right of way, and the other alterations to the Icehouse and house which formed part of the enforcement notice, have been the subject of a reminder letter to the developer, and it is hoped that these can also be the subject of an agreement to return the site to its condition prior to the commencement of the unauthorised development.

Welcoming this positive news Deputy Stagg stated that this was a major Victory for the Rights of the Public and to ensure that there is no repeat of the problems he called on the Government to Purchase Batty Langley Lodge from Mr. Desmond Guinness as originally agreed previously in the context of consolidating Castletown Demesne.

In conclusion Deputy Stagg again praised the Work of Daniel O`Shea and Liam Roe of the Castletown Action Group in pursuing this issue.

6th May, 2006 - Enforcement Notice issued in relation to Right Of Way at Batty Langley Lodge - Deputy Emmet Stagg has welcomed the decision by Kildare Co. Council to issue an Enforcement Notice on May 4th to Declan Ryan and others of Lyons Demesne, Celbridge, in relation to the closure of the Public Right of Way at Castletown, Celbridge, via Batty Langley Lodge to Parsonstown (Barnhall), Leixlip.

The Enforcement notice stated Deputy Stagg states that Mr. Ryan must (A) halt all works on the lands within a day of the notice being served (B) within one month of the notice, remove the unauthorised perimeter metal security fence and gates (C) within one month of the notice, restore the established right of way linking the Parsonstown area with Castletown House and its riverside (D) within one month of the notice, remove the unauthorised wall located to the northern side of the entrance gate to Batty Langley Lodge from Parsonstown (E) preserve Batty Langley Lodge and its attendant grounds to the satisfaction of the planning authority (F) within one month of the notice, restore the Ice House on the site to the satisfaction of the planning authority

Last February Deputy Stagg lodged 36 Statements from members of the Public, collected by the Castletown Action Group, outlining their regular usage of the Right of Way with one of the Statements outlining a 45 year regular usage. In addition the Castletown Action Group acquired information from Ordnance Survey Ireland, that the Walkway, which is now closed, was shown on Original Ordnance Survey maps dating to 1830 approx, and which would have been deemed to be a permanent feature. The Statements and information from Ordnance Survey Ireland will be used in Court if Mr. Ryan refuses to reopen the Public Right of Way stated Deputy Stagg.

In conclusion Deputy Stagg expressed the hope that the case could be settled without a Court Case and again praised the work of Daniel O`Shea and Liam Roe of the Castletown Action Group in gathering significant statements and information on the Public Right of Way.


18th February, 2006 - Stagg lodges 36 Statements and seeks Circuit Court Action in relation to Right of Way at Batty Langley Lodge - Since the closure of the Right of Way at Castletown via Batty Langley Lodge to Parsonstown (Barnhall), Leixlip, Deputy Emmet Stagg has been working with a Local Group headed up by Daniel O`Shea and Liam Roe in relation to re-establishing the Public Right of Way.

At Deputy Stagg`s request the Group have successfully obtained Statements from 36 Local Residents in relation to their regular use of the Right of Way over a long number of years. Deputy Stagg has now lodged these statements with Kildare Co. Council seeking the instigation of a Court Case in the District Court to re-establish the Public Right of Way. Case Law requires there to be regular usage of the Right of Way for a period of 20 years if there is to be any possibility of a successful Court Challenge.

The Statements show regular usage with one of the Statements outlining a 45 year regular usage.

Deputy Stagg stated that he wanted to put on record his appreciation of the work by Daniel O`Shea and Liam Roe on this issue and that he looked forward to the Groups Day in Court.

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