25 Apr 2008

Remember last November RTE did a Prime Time Investigates about land rezonings?

In the course of a programme which looked at planning irregularities around the country it was suggested that North Tipp County Councillors may not have, shall we say, exercised their very best judgment in approving the rezoning of over a hundred acres of land just outside the picturesque shores-of-Lough-Derg village of Puckane. Sinn Fein Councillor Seamie Morris in particular pulled no punches in suggesting there was skulduggery – there had been no mention, he suggested, of the rezoning proposal during the preparation of the new Development Plan. It mysteriously raised its head only after the public consultation period was over and was quietly adopted.

When local people found out what had happened they spat flames. Councillor Morris wrote to the Council’s Ethics Officer asking for a full investigation into the actions of the various councillors who made the rezoning possible.

Well, months passed. The Prime Time programme (which, I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly – perhaps because I’ve worked within the Local Authority system and tend to suspect there’s always much more to these situations than Prime Time ever seems to uncover – failed to resonate) didn’t cause a ripple. The story flatlined.

But why, then, when their various names have drifted off the radar, have a number of the Councillors whom Cllr. Morris pointed his finger at suddenly decided to pursue him with threats of court action unless he retracts his criticisms? Most odd. Most odd. As anyone with any familiarity with Seamie Morris knows, if you threaten to take him to court, you end up in court.

So they’re all off to court.

People in County Kerry are saying (and apparently it’s been in a local newspaper but I haven’t been able to find it) that an objector was paid a six figure sum to drop an appeal to An Bord Planala. The applicant in the case had received approval from the County Council for a modest planning application, but the threat of the appeal meant that the approval could have been overturned by the Bord - a situation which would have had serious financial consequences for the applicant. So, it seems, he paid the objector off.
I don’t quite know what happened next, but the matter came to the attention of the Garda. By all accounts there’s a paper trail, but what the Garda intend doing with it, I have yet to hear. That’s all I know. If anyone has any more info on the matter, I’m all ears.

While allegations of payoffs to keep people from appealing applications to the Bord are rife, Kerry seems to be the focus of this kind of alleged activity. A situation involving an alleged ‘solicitor’ in Listowel parting company with the legal firm he was working with because his superiors were allegedly surprised to find out he was using company letterhead to, effectively/allegedly, extort money with threats to pursue applications to An Bord has been doing the rounds. But I’m sure there are other instances. If anyone is in a position to substantiate the hundreds we’ve all heard about,  info@garrymiley.com 
About five hundred people marched on Town Hall in Carrick-on-Suir last night to demonstrate against a proposal to impose higher development charges which would fund the least wanted, least justified and least loved bridge in the whole of Ireland. The demo took place just in advance of the Council meeting which was to decide on the matter.
Incredibly, the Town Council voted 6 - 2 in favour of the bridge. Obviously, these are Councillors who don't have serious ambitions for a political career - in a year from now they'll be finding they have more quality time on  Monday evenings that they currently enjoy.
The situation in Carrick has spun out of control. At one end of town there's a retail park which could be generating a couple of hundred thousand a year in rates but which is lying idle. At the other end of town, on a site which floods and which the OPW has strongly advised isn't a great place for development, there are two almost identical applications from separate developers to build about 200,000 sq. ft. of retail space (to serve a population of 3,500). Both of these applications include new bridges which, if built will be right beside one another linking a new shoppin gcentre with a bunch of empty fields on the south side of the river. Plus, these unnecessary bridges may or may not be in addition to yet another bridge Johnny Ronan is alleged to be building a few hundred metres upstream.
Something isn't right about this situation. The whole thing doesn't add up - in fact it reeks. If anyone has any idea what lies at the root of it all, email me in confidence. 
Hope this keeps you going until I make the move to 2.0 (the technical term we use in the business for that new blogging look - I know, like Mike in a C, I'm about to become unbearable).
Someone found the tape of what actually happened to Hillary in Bosnia:

I'll be back, hopefully by the weekend. Keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008 5:30:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hi Garry,
Love the new format.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:24:52 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

You carry our hopes and dreams on your back.

A true son of Éireann.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:20:12 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Should anyone want to keep track of whats going on in puckane please visit our website at:

Thanks for paying attention to the story Gary.
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