ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS, ABSOLUTELY....
Rock of Cashel houses allowed to remain
A DEVELOPER who built 52 holiday homes close to the Rock of Cashel has been granted "retention planning permission" for 32 of the houses.
South Tipperary County Council has granted the permission despite having previously issued an enforcement order demanding that all of the houses be demolished and the land restored to its condition "prior to the commencement of the development".
The builder, Liam Campion, has now lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála challenging the council's decision to withhold retention permission for the remaining 20 houses.
His Co Laois-based company, Campion Concrete Products Ltd, got planning permission more than two years ago to build a 120- bedroom hotel, an "international trade centre" and 52 holiday cottages on an elevated site at Ballypadeen outside Cashel.
Last May, after all the houses (but not the hotel or trade centre) had been built, planning officials inspected the site and decided that "the works had not been carried out in compliance with planning permission". The county council issued an enforcement order demanding that the company "cease all development at the site" and "remove the 52 houses". The council initiated legal proceedings which are currently adjourned at Tipperary District Court.
Despite ongoing litigation, Mr Campion sought and received planning permission allowing him to retain 32 of the houses and to reduce the size of the proposed hotel from 120 rooms to 78. However, he is "dismayed and incensed" over the council's attempt to force him to demolish the other 20 houses. He has accused planning officials of putting "250 jobs at risk", costing him "millions of euro in tax breaks" and jeopardising the €75 million project.
A decision on his appeal to An Bord Pleanála is expected in June.
©Irish Times 3.03.08
When Bertie’s Party decided,in 2004 to put a ‘levy’ on the thousands of ‘one off rural houses’countrywide that his Cabinet had facilitated with an easement of the planning laws,there resulted an unprecedented avalanche, or ‘Bungalow Blitz’ of planning applications, lodged with local authorities throughout the land to beat the deadline for the new charges of up to 20,000 Euros per property.The rising cost of property was receiving a new stimulus from the same government who expressed alarm at the inability of many young people to purchase a house of their own…
In parallel with this alarming influx of applications,Bertie Ahern and,Martin Cullen,Environment minister, had actually drawn up,by July 2004, new legislation which would totally emasculate ‘An Bord Pleanala’as an effective entity.
The rationale was to speed up the speculative building of ‘one off houses’ in the countryside by rural landowners who were being left out of the Dublin based, builders ‘profit feeding frenzy’due to the soaring demand for new homes.
All power on planning matters was to be incorporated in the Minister for the Environment,and the work of the local planners in the scattered local council planning departments,was to be "centralized and streamlined".
Martin Cullen would be Master and Overlord of all planning with the abolition of the system of checks and balances which prevented a drift into chaos.
This was tyranny,- despotism of the worst kind.
Their‘ Planning vandalism for profit’policy had moved to rural pastures,and the pace was quickening. Our city dwelling young people had been milked dry by the same cabal of sharks and politicians.Young couples were commuting longer and longer distances to work,being forced into rural housing as far away as Trim Balbriggan and Arklow, by skyrocketing suburban house prices .
Fuel prices,already heavily taxed, were rising alongside the growing anarchy in Iraq,where President Bush had become embroiled in a 21st century Vietnam.
.The ‘Jackals of Destiny’Fianna Fail appeared unassailable in Leinster House.Their agenda of profiteering for a well connected circle of builders/farmers/speculators was in full swing Now let us interpret Fianna Fail’s latest press release,in plain English, so that it is comprehendible to the average unsophisticated mug in the street
The Minister for the Environment, Mr Martin’Cu’ Cullen,in August 2004 announced that he was seeking to introduce a standard planning service in an attempt to end regional disparities in the planning system. While the Minister will not seek uniform requirements for planning for developments such as rural one-off houses, this is an area he said he wants to see "evened out" to bring "some coherence" to the State's planning system.
(read;-‘It will be open season for developers, and farmers selling sites,because I’m taking over now…!’)
He insisted that "a county border should not be the determining factor in the planning process."(read;-you can build in Donegal even if you happen to live in Kerry)
Mr Cullen said there was a tendency among planners to behave "extremely arrogantly, acting like demi-gods".(read-"you shaggers won’t interfere with our speculative activities any more")
"The process has to be open, transparent and consistent".
(read;- wide open ..rubber stamped and no refusals.!)
"It is all about balance. Local authorities themselves have identified unnecessary requirements"
(read;-Planners in some areas are very troublesome,and all these section 140 motions are getting us bad publicity)
"They are processing 80,000 planning applications a year and need a simple administrative process. e-planning, where basic principles are well-established, could bring certainty and coherence to the system," the Minister concluded.
(read;-You won’t even have to go down to the local county council with troublesome plans and petitions ,anymore-just e-mail my new one-stop shop for instant permission-and who says I haven’t learned a thing or two about electronic voting!!)" ends.
All this applied to the countryside.In Dublin a small group of well connected builders had built up a massive land bank of potential re-zoning land,and appeared to be drip feeding new houses on to the market to maintain the ever rising prices.
It was always the case that only Fianna Fail Connected Builders got planning permission.
Now that the demand for housing had exploded in Dublin,the careful control which the councils had exercised on development potential land, had backfired and prices were going through the roof.Only the Bovale/Bailey brothers were being favoured with out of town rezoning -and a few comrades of the"Soldiers" in the Tallagh/West area...
It did not help that the banks aggravated the price spiral in their own interests by turning a blind eye to the falsification,or "sexing up" of loan applications by hard pressed applicants.
A published study of the Dublin housing market by Trinity professor P.J. Drudy,in 2003 was pretty scathing in its criticisms of Fianna Fail.
Let it not be forgotten that the banks and building societies were also in criminal partnership,of sorts, with Fianna Fail in the greatest rip off of the century ,of our young people so desperate to own a home of their own, at any price.
If these greedy, profit driven organizations were using prudent lending criteria and the old rules which restricted loans to a multiple of annual income were still in force the housing rip off would come to a standstill.The same banks,which aided and abetted thousands of businessmen to avoid paying their taxes through off shore and fraudulent 'non resident'accounts,-and got off virtually scott free for their crimes-were now complicit in the great housing gouge of our young by 'Friends of Fianna Fail.'
Fianna Fail will never -and can never- reform their organization. Their relationship with the vested interest lobby groups;such as farming organizations,landowners,builders and big business is so intertwined ,in a helix of mutual and reciprocal favouritism,as to preclude that possibility.The current Oireachtas report and recommendations on taxing rezoned land,for example-which makes multi-millionaires of their circle of cronies overnight,and other reforms; will gather dust, in government Archives,as did the last report on this subject commissioned over a decade ago.
Fianna Fail is 'Big Business' ;Fianna Fail is 'The Builders Party'.Fianna Fail is the Embodiment of Corruption since the day that C.J.H.hijacked it,many years past. It is incapable of re-inventing itself. Underneath the "new cap" is the same old face.
Even now 'Cu Cullen is driving new highways out from 'The Pale,cutting across our most precious heritage,The Hill Of Tara in the process-,having soaked Dublins citizens dry,-the new speculators,farmers,and landowners of the hinterlands,await the arrival of our dispossessed youth,who will be fleeced once again in the towns of Navan ,Trim,Kells,etc,and face a long (and expensive )commute into Dublin,- all for the privilege of owning a home of their own.Civil servants -,who don’t want to leave-can consider themselves lucky!-they won't have so far to travel for gainful employment thanks to their forced repatriation.If this government are allowed to continue with their depredation and exploitation of our young people it will be an unforgivable crime,and all those who propose to vote for them in the coming election must examine their Civil War mindset-or what passes for a conscience.
They are currently signing 25 year lease on new office blocks being constructed by their circle of speculators countrywide.The young people of Ireland will pay through unchecked taxation,in the coming decades,for this costly and outrageous railroading of the Civil Service,and duplication of Civil Service departments nationwide
Fianna Fail’s recently highly publicised ,disreguard for unchecked , systematic abuses of all kinds, by developers,businessmen,and local councils alike;- therefore comes as no surprise.They are even diverting public infrastructure (the Dart) in Tallagh West to facilitate the illegal developments of some of their closest crony developers.!
This has emboldened the worst of the ‘Gombeen Mentality’men of their tradition,within the worst county councils,to increase their scurrilous attacks against ‘An Taisce’, and meanly withdraw all funding for this voluntary organization, call ing for its virtual annihilation,as even a ‘Cinderella’ style guardian against their unchecked abuses.
If a responsible coalition is ever newly elected ..,their first duty lies in removing the corrupting powers of arbitrary reversals and rezonings by local –or, indeed,central government-politicians.
A body totally independent of politics, a proper, professional ‘ Department of Planning’ entity is the only answer to the current debacle.
The ghosts of Burke,and Lawlor,Redmond and Haughey will continue to re-surface until this concept becomes a reality.
if Fianna Fail are ever wrenched from power and their tyrannical overlordship contained; if their electorate vote buying- at any cost- is halted;if their self serving obeisance to Big Business comes to an end;- the new administration must lay the old era and regime to rest- forever.!
A New Entity with powers of implementation of swift and sizable financial penalties,against illegal developments,quarrying,dumping,agricultural pollution,etc in combination with a decisive prosecution mandate,is the most urgent requirement of this state .
When the ‘ Department of the Environment’and its Master and Overlord ,Martin Cullen,and all the bad memories associated with it, are consigned to history ,then and only then will our small nation emerge from its present,long dark nit of tyranny and corruption.
15/08/05 ( a letter in the "Examiner".)
Is this what they call eco-tourism?
HOW can a 100-bedroom luxury hotel and 105 holiday cottages to be developed at Lough Key national forest park — one of the most beautiful public parks in Ireland and a treasure to all of us privileged to live in the north-west — be called ‘eco-tourism’?
Unless ‘eco’ is short for economic advantage to the developers.
They then talk about future development of an 18-hole golf course when just a few kilometres away is the magnificent Carrick-on-Shannon club situated beside ‘Woodbook’ of literary renown.
‘Too many houses' to blame for €150m Tralee - Kilarney bypass
A CLAIM by An Taisce president Eanna Ní Leamhna that a new €150 million bypass must be built between Tralee and Killarney because too many houses have been erected on the existing road was confirmed by Kerry County Council yesterday.
Ms Ní Leamhna, addressing a public meeting in Killarney, said houses had been built from end to end of the busy road.
"These houses have not been put there by planners, but have been voted through by councillors who ignored the advice of their planners and passed Section 4 motions," she said.
"The result of all that is the road can't be widened and a new road must be built."
A council spokesman said engineers had looked at the possibility of widening and upgrading the existing Killarney/Farranfore road, but ruled it out because there were too many houses, exits and entrances.
However, there are big delays in building the long-awaited bypass as money is being diverted by the National Roads Authority to major inter-city routes and roads in the east cast.
Compulsory land purchase may not be completed until 2010 and it could be many years before the 27km Kerry road is completed.
Ms Ní Leamhna clashed with Kerry Mayor Michael Healy-Rae who said he was "very proud and glad" that Section 4 motions moved by himself, his father and his brother had enabled people to live along the Tralee/Killarney road.
Mr Healy-Rae launched a forceful attack on An Taisce, claiming it was a "secretive" organisation which meddled and interfered with young people who wished to build houses on their family farms.
But this was firmly rejected by Ms Ní Leamhna who said An Taisce was an open organisation which anyone was welcome to join.
Questioning the need for all the new houses, she said the last census had shown 25% of all houses in Kerry were empty. She also denied An Taisce interfered in the planning system, saying it was trying to protect the environment.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Irish Rural Dwellers' Association (IRDA), Michael Doyle, announced a day of protest outside Kerry County Council headquarters, in Tralee, to highlight difficulties people have in getting planning permission.
"We want to concentrate the minds of politicians, the county manager and planners on problems experienced by people in rural Kerry," said Mr Doyle, from Beaufort, Co Kerry.
© Irish Examiner 27.02.08
FINALLY,SOME GOOD NEWS?-but not for taxpayers.
The Minister for the Environment(the new one,-Cu Cullen is flying high in transport with Aer Lingus now) has clashed with the European Commission over its decision to take legal action against Ireland for eight breaches of environmental law.
Mr Roche said most of the eight cases would never go to court and he criticised the commission for announcing the cases by press release before the full details of the complaints were given to the Department of theEnvironment.
The EU environment commissioner, Mr Stavos Dimas, said the actions related to failure to transpose environmental directives into law - some of them dating back to 1991 - and failure to implement some directives which had been transposed.
Mr Dimas particularly mentioned the State's proposed programme to combat water pollution from agricultural nitrates, which the commission recently found was inadequate.
He also gave examples of actions the EU was taking against Ireland for situations including:
delays in upgrading town sewage plants;
bad odours from sewage plants;
the disposal of contaminated construction waste at Tynagh mines in Co Galway;
the removal of waste and the restoration of wetlands in the Boyne estuary;
the failure to submit reports on the use of certain ozone depleting substances;
the failure to submit a plan to limit certain air pollutants, and
the failure of the State to properly implement the EU Directive on the use Environmental Impact Assessments.
In relation to the delays in upgrading town sewerage systems, the commission specifically mentioned plants at Bray, Co Wicklow; Shanganagh and Howth, Co Dublin, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Sligo town and Tramore, Co Waterford.
The commission said it had "a duty to ensure that each member-state lives up to its commitments to safeguard the environment and human health".
David McWilliams put the matter into succinct perspective writing in the Sunday Business Post,April 2005
" A government without conviction is a government without credibility. It has to stand for something.
If it changes the planning laws and guidelines too frequently and in response to pestering from lobby groups, the credibility of all directives, laws and decrees will be tarnished. In short, no system can work without a set of rules and if the rules are bent too often the entire system is undermined.
Farmers, developers and individual owners of land will interpret Roche's latest move as a green light to chance their arms, leading to a further blurring of planning regulation. Of itself, extending development may not be a big deal, but the related economic ramifications certainly are. Let us be very clear: if we have one-off housing, we cannot have a functioning public transport system, public health service, public education system or postal system, never mind universal access to broadband or cable.
Think five years hence, with thousands of houses dotted willy-nilly around the country, neither in villages nor towns. A rural movement starts complaining, in marginal constituencies, about the lack of buses or other public transport infrastructure.
You then get the airwaves blocked by the rather innocent-sounding “rural bus coalition'‘ that is running a candidate in the local elections on the rural isolation ticket. Suddenly you have local TDs promising hourly bus services to the back end of nowhere to facilitate the people that built their one-off houses at the end of the valley in 2006.
The success of the rural bus coalition spawns the “isolated ambulance platform'‘, which is running another candidate for “immediate ambulance access for the dark-side-of-the-mountain'‘. This flamboyant candidate is threatening the goofy scion of an interbred fourth generation local political dynasty.
Within weeks the local TD is in the Dáil demanding ambulances for all and within a month or so you get the “remote school access project'‘ calling for school buses to travel the 30-mile round trip to pick up little Saoirse from halfway up Errigal and drop her to school for nine o'clock.
It's the same story with postal services as well as water, sewage, telecom and roads infrastructure. The more you spread the population, the higher the cost of providing all these services.
But do you think a variation of the “polluter pays'‘ concept would be applied to price these extra services - where the more remote you are, the more you pay for basic utilities because it costs more to get the services to you? No way.
There would be uproar, constitutional challenges and entire Liveline programmes devoted to the “constitutional right'‘ to be bussed to the local “educate together'‘ pre-school.
So who pays? The worker who has abided by the laws, who has bought a place in a town or a village and who is not lucky enough to inherit land. You pay. The city dweller who represents the main source of stealth and bin taxes;-you pay.!
Your bills and taxes will be increased to pay for the every lobby group in rural Ireland
The combination of a weak political system, opportunistic land owners and pushy local candidates means that the silent suburban majority - the backbone of this country - gets shafted again.
Looking forward, there is another argument for centralised, high density living, as opposed to a sporadic, scattered, one-off pattern - the price, supply and availability of oil. Ireland is one of the most oil-dependent countries in the world and suburban sprawl and one-off housing depend on cheap petrol.
However, we may have passed the period of cheap fuel. Global oil production is set to peak in 2011 and we are unlikely to find anymore of it. Demand from China and India is set to sky-rocket and this week we have seen tension over fuel between China, the second-largest oil importer in the world, and Japan, the third-largest.
Switching back home, the cost of one-off housing will be equally badly exposed if oil prices remain where they are or begin to creep upwards. One-off housing means commuting because, as far as I am aware, we are not talking about one-off offices, one-off supermarkets, one-off schools, one-off shopping centres, one-off restaurants, one-off cinemas or one-off factories.
The houses are designed for people to commute from. If the price of petrol goes through the roof, these people will be looking for subsidies to get from their one-off bungalows to work.
Like doling out sweets in response to pester power, the government's move is short-term, ill-conceived and will only do damage in the long run. When we suffer the economic equivalent of hardened arteries, liver failure and diabetes, just remember none of these ailments are one-off."
2. Councillors perform U-turn in Aghadoe rezoning plan
KERRY county councillors have done a major U-turn on a vexed rezoning issue, following intense pressure from an angry community.
Councillors who voted recently to rezone a four-acre site for a storage depot, in the scenic Aghadoe area, near Killarney, have buckled under pressure from local residents.
The councillors told a public meeting of the Aghadoe Residents’ Group on Tuesday night that they would not be supporting the rezoning when it comes for a final decision, on April 2.
Present at the residents’ meeting were Fine Gael’s Tom Sheahan, who proposed the rezoning in January, and Independent Michael Healy-Rae, who seconded.
Up to 90 people were at the meeting and residents’ group spokesman Michael Rosney yesterday said they were "absolutely delighted" with the outcome.
"The councillors who changed their stance spoke out strongly against the rezoning. They probably voted for it initially because they didn’t have full information, or were not aware of the feelings of local residents," he stated.
Mr Rosney also said 25 of the 27 members of Kerry County Council, who had been directly contacted by the residents, were now against the rezoning.
County councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting included Independent Danny Healy-Rae and Fianna Fáil’s Tom Fleming, who both had voted for the rezoning, and Fianna Fáil’s Colin Miller and Independent Brendan Cronin, who had both voted against it.
There, too, were Labour TD Breda Moynihan Cronin and Killarney Labour town councillor Sean O’Grady, who also spoke against the rezoning.
Mr Rosney said the case highlighted flaws in the zoning system. He said councillors were often voting on zonings about which they did not have enough information and were not aware of implications.
"Nobody in the Aghadoe area seemed to know anything about the rezoning of this land for a storage depot until it actually came before the council for a vote," Mr Rosney said.
Councillors in Kerry regularly ignore the advice of senior planners on zoning and planning issues and, reportedly, sometimes vote to rezone parcels they have not seen and know little about.
The stance taken by the Aghadoe residents may force councillors to examine proposed zonings more closely.
© Irish Examiner