Proposals aimed at resolving a right of way dispute involving Northern Ireland's richest man have been rejected, the High Court heard today.
Lord Ballyedmond's legal battle with Newry and Mourne District Council over access to a stretch of Co Down beach is now set to go to a trial lasting nearly two weeks.
The industrialist, also known as Dr Edward Haughey, is head of leading veterinary pharmaceuticals company Norbrook Laboratories.
As part of ongoing legal proceedings he has already secured an order to stop trespassing on his land.
The injunction prevents access to a laneway on his estate pending a final ruling on the land which leads to the foreshore near Killowen.
It was granted after concerns were raised about any alleged trespassers coming close to sensitive research facilities.
A potential breakthrough in the dispute emerged earlier this year following negotiations over a possible re-routing.
Proposals made on a without prejudice basis were then put before the council for consideration last month.
But Mr Justice Deeny was informed today that they failed to be endorsed by the local authority.
Paul McLaughlin, for Newry and Mourne, told the court: "Unfortunately the council has decided that the proposals put forward aren't acceptable to the council for a range of reasons.
"That decision was taken after a full meeting of the council in which they received detailed presentations about the merits and disadvantages of the proposals.
"In those circumstances I have been asked to request a trial date for this matter."
Adrian Colmer, for Lord Ballyedmond, said his client was "more than disappointed" with the council's decision.
He added: "For a number of years a great deal of money and time has been spent on producing voluminous reports, to find at this point that's not going to bear fruit.
"We have written asking for some detail as to what the problem is."
After being updated Mr Justice Deeny agreed to list the case for an eight-day hearing, beginning next February.