31 Oct 2008
While John Gormley lines himself up to square off with Clare County Council about some things he doesn’t like in the new Ennis Development Plan, I can’t help feeling that he’s no idea what he’s getting into. Oh, my future predecessor in the Department of the Environment, you’ve picked the wrong county.
There are all sorts of very good reasons why Clare’s County Councillors are angry with how senior planning officials and, by extension, the Department of the Environment, conduct their business in the Banner. Some of the many, many issues which exercise them (remember the late David Keane’s letter to Clare officials when he said they didn’t know what a planning application was for?) are allegations that planning officials give themselves special treatment on their own planning applications.

Just this week, Councillor PJ Kelly went so far as to allege in public that one official had way too easy a time of it in getting approval to build himself a house right next to one of the most important National Monuments in the country (PJ stopped short of alleging that, when built, the same house allegedly didn’t conform to the approved drawings (which is the least of the allegations which surround the career of the planning official in question). Details surrounding the allegedly curious manner in which a separate County Clare planning official’s application for his/her house was handled will emerge in the coming weeks.)
Added to all this , you have the fact that the Minister was nowhere to be found when Kilrush Town Council were almost extorted by some really odd people into buying a dodgy building using unallocated tax payers’ money, plus the fact that people are still smarting about Jim Connolly being put out of business, plus the fact that there are countless, countless folk out there who’ve been treated scandalously by the Council on minor planning applications for no good reason at all, all of which explains the fact that the elected part of Clare County Council have little appetite to hear what John Gormley has to say. Especially when you realise the issue he’s getting worked up over is whether or not the Council should continue to grant planning applications for single family houses on some of the main routes leading into Ennis town centre. It’s a matter which affects very few people and interests fewer still.   

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