2 Jun 2009

This is from the latest Nenagh Guardian:

'A Ballina man is appealing for people experiencing planning problems in North Tipperary to contact him with a view to setting up a forum on the matter.

Patrick Clarke has spent six years battling for planning permission in Ballina. He says his case is just one of too many affecting people all over the county, who Pat alleges are being treated unfairly by the local planning authority. Pat and his wife Martina McKeogh have been renting in Ballina for over two years with their four young children, who all attend Ballina NS. They want to build a home in the area and do have local connections on Martina’s side, she being able to trace her family history in the area back over eight generations.

Six years ago the couple were offered a site on the family farm, only to discover that they could not proceed with their plans to build a house as they did not meet ‘local need’ criteria. “Because neither of us were born locally nor lived locally for 10 years we are excluded from building our family home on the family farm,” Pat says... he has been repeatedly refused planning permission by the local authority, whose interpretation of the local need policy he finds too “black and white,” offering no room for discretion in individual circumstances.

The Ballina resident believes many other people are experiencing similar problems in North Tipperary, and that local politicians are either unable or unwilling to help. He’s now appealing for people to contact him on the matter. “You are not alone,” Pat says. “There is strength in numbers. If you wish to do something about this then now is the time to act.”

Contact Pat on 087 9020321 or email  mailto:pclarkeirl@eircom.net

Anyway. So far so typical: a ridiculously discriminatory planning policy, which wouldn't last on the statutes in the US or any Continental European country for the smallest fraction of a second, being exposed for the national embarrassment it is.

However, the situation must be viewed in the context of a separate North Tipp application for a family home which was recently approved but for which there was an alleged question as to that applicant's qualification under the 'local need' rule. It has come to Pat Clarke's attention that the applicant on the 'successful' application couldn't really be considered a local but does have alleged connections with a local TD as well as a senior planner. Whether this fact in any way influenced the outcome of the planning application, as Clarke suggests in a letter to all TDs in the country that it might have, is something I couldn't possibly comment on.  

Pat is hoping that people in the North Tipp area for whom his situation may resonate will contact him before the local elections on Friday and assist him with an email campaign. Here's his contact information again: Pat Clarke, 087 9020321 or pclarkeirl@eircom.net

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