O'Shea v Cork Rural District Council

CourtKing's Bench Division (Ireland)
JudgeM. R.
Judgment Date13 November 1913
Date13 November 1913
Cork Rural District Council.

M. R.











Local Government — Labourers (Ireland) Acts — Improvement Scheme — Application for letting of cottage — Right of preference — Scheme not founded on applicant's representation — Special damage — Joinder of Attorney-General — Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1883 (46 & 47 Vict. c. 60), s. 13Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1906 (6 Edw. 7, c. 37), s. 29 — Practice — Action against public body — Naming special defendants — Costs.

Held, that as no private legal right of the plaintiff had been infringed, he could not sustain the action.

Held also, that even if the Attorney-General were joined as a plaintiff, the action would not be maintainable.

Tevlin v. Lisnaskea Rural District Council ([1914] 2 I. R. 15) distinguished.

When misconduct in the performance of their duties is alleged against a public body, and it becomes necessary to take legal proceedings against them, the individual members who are principally responsible ought to be made special defendants for the purpose of visiting them with the costs of the action.

Trial of Action.

Under the Cork Rural District Labourers (Opposed) Order (No. 2), 1908, the Cork Rural District Council were authorized to acquire a plot, numbered 2381a, containing 1a. 0r. 14p., at Gurranebraher in the Cork Rural District. The representation upon which this plot was acquired was signed by a man named J. Collins. A labourer's cottage was subsequently erected on this plot; and at their meeting on 6th June, 1912, the rural district council appointed Richard Casey tenant of the cottage, the original applicant, J. Collins, having stated that he did not require it. This appointment was made subject to the approval of the councillor for the division in which the cottage was situated, Objection having been taken by him, at a meeting of the rural district council held on the 20th June, 1912, both Casey and the plaintiff were proposed and seconded, and Casey was appointed tenant by 16 votes to 5. The plaintiff was an agricultural labourer residing in the district, while Casey was not an agricultural labourer, but was employed in the City of Cork, and the attention of the rural district council was called to this fact by a letter from the Local Government Board, which was read at the meeting of the council on the 18th July, 1912.

The rural district council having persisted in retaining Casey as tenant, the present action was brought, in which the plaintiff sought an injunction to restrain the defendants (1) from letting the cottage for which the plaintiff had applied, to any person other than an agricultural labourer; (2) from letting the said cottage to any person without complying with the provisions of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts with regard to giving a preference in the said letting to agricultural labourers who had signed the representation upon which the scheme for acquiring the said plot and erecting the said cottage was founded; and for damages. The writ was issued and service was accepted on the 4th November, 1912.

After action brought Casey gave up possession of the cottage to the council, who at their meeting on the 5th December, 1912, appointed Bridget Casey (daughter of Richard Casey), who was an agricultural labourer, working in the rural district at wages of 4s. a week, to be tenant of the cottage. On this occasion the plaintiff was also proposed as tenant, but his application was defeated by 22 votes to 17.

The statement of claim concluded with an allegation that “by reason of the defendants' failure to carry out the provisions of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts as aforesaid in letting the said cottage and plot, the plaintiff is unable to obtain any suitable or proper house accommodation for himself and his family.”

Serjeant M'Sweeny, K.C. (with him J. M. FitzGerald), for the plaintiff:—

We rely on the plaintiff's status as an agricultural labourer...

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2 cases
  • Moore and Others v Attorney-General and Others (No. 3)
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    ...R. 2 C. L. 143. (3) [1903] 1 Ch. 109, at p. 113; [1903] 2 Ch. 556; [1906] A. C. 1. (4) L. R. 2 Ex. 316. (5) [1913] 1 I. R. 63, 193. (6) [1914] 1 I. R. 16. (7) [1902] 1 I. R. 13. (8) [1910] 1 I. R. 325. (9) 2 Beav. 313. (10) 4 My. & Cr. 262. (11) 3 Beav. 447. (12) 15 Beav. 397, at p. 401. (1......
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