2 Oct 2008
Remember how Kilrush Town Council decided to pay 1-point-odd million euros for a burnt out hotel, not to mention a further god knows how many million euros refurbishing the derelict pile, in the hope of turning it into their new offices?  Without any idea where the money was going to come from? Without any value-for-money assessment? Without considering the far cheaper option available to them of taking a lease on an already completed turn-key development down the street? Well the good news is that the plan has been abandoned. Not officially abandoned – abandoned in the sense that people are now talking about it in the 'ah sure' way that makes it sound as if it was never really on the table when, in fact, it most certainly was.

Meanwhile, down in Carrick-on-Suir in that situation involving:
A) a completed retail park which is standing idle because the town planner has decided Heatons don’t qualify to become anchor tenants because their goods aren’t bulky enough  (thereby ensuring that tenants can't be found for the other units and depriving an economically challeged town of much needed jobs), and
B) a planning application for a competing retail park at the opposite end of town on a site which is not only a flood plain but which also spends much of its time under the actual water but which the town planner for some reason seems to favour?
Well, on item A) the good news is that a local councillor has sought a material contravention of the development plan to allow Heatons to move in (if they're still interested). However, the bad news is that, simultaneously, the town planner has sought clarification from An Bord Pleanala that the position he's taking on the Heaton's question is correct (I’m sure the Bord will find that, technically, he is correct. I don’t know if they’re allowed to comment on whether or not he is wise. Or whether or not he’s wasting tax payer’s money. (And, incidentally, what effect will the Bord's ruling have on other Heatons outlets in other parts of the country?))

Re Item B) the goods news is that its very unlikely, given these flood-plain-sensitive times, that the application will be approved.

And the other good news is that a couple of thousand local people are expected to demonstrate outside the Town Hall on Saturday October 11 regarding Item A. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what can you do for your country. Answer: riot.

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