by Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967)
My soul was an old horse
Offered for sale in twenty fairs.
I offered him to the Church -- the
Were little men who feared his
One said: ' Let him remain unbid
In the wind and rain and hunger
Of sin and we will get him --
With the winkers thrown in -- for
Then the men of State looked at
What I'd brought for sale.
One minister, wondering if
Another horse-body would fit the
That he'd kept for sentiment --
The relic of his own soul --
Said, 'I will graze him in lieu of
I lent him for a week or more
And he came back a hurdle of
Starved, overworked, in despair.
I nursed him on the roadside
To shape him for another fair.
I lowered my price. I stood him
The broken-winded, spavined
And crooked shopkeepers said
Might do a season on the land --
But not for high-paid work in
He'd do a tinker, possibly.
I begged, 'O make some offer
a soul is a poor man's tragedy.
He'll draw your dungiest cart,' I
'Show you short cuts to Mass,
Teach weather lore, at night collect
Bad debts from poor men's grass.'
And they would not.
Tinkers quarrel I went down
With my horse, my soul.
I cried, 'Who will bid me half a
from their rowdy bargaining
Not one turned. 'Soul,' I prayed,
'I have hawked you through the
Of Church and State and meanest
But this evening, halter off,
Never again will it go on.
On the south side of ditches
There is grazing of the sun.
No more haggling with the
As I said these words he grew
Wings upon his back. Now I may
Every land my imagination knew.
GRANTING VAT rebates for business accommodation could boost Ireland's €457m conferencing industry, and of course Jim Mansfields illegally built conference centre in Citywest, will be the biggest benificiary. (according to Irish Hotels Federation chief executive John Power.)
Minister Cowen announced plans for business accommodation VAT rebates in the 2006 Budget measures. The proposed Luas extension to the place will help him cream off lots of biz from its city centre rival conference centre.
COUNCILLORS IN south Dublin have rezoned land in a green belt area at Citywest near Saggart to allow for the development of a shopping centre of up to 40,000sq ft (3,700sq m), against the advice of the county planners.
The rezoned land is known as "golf village" and is part of the Citywest Hotel complex. The land was previously rezoned to provide facilities specifically to cater for golfers and their guests, consisting of designer shops and golf outlets.
Councillors have now rezoned the land for a general retail centre, even though the site is less than 1km from the Citywest shopping centre and close to Saggart Village which, when combined with the current retail element of golf village, leaves more than 68,000sq ft of unoccupied retail space in the immediate area.
The motion to rezone the land was originally proposed last year by Fianna Fáil councillor Jim Daly, who said it would be appropriate given that the proposed Luas extension to Citywest would have a stop adjacent to golf village.
However, the director of planning with the council, Tom Doherty, said the zoning should not go ahead. The change would have "a negative impact on the vitality and viability" of the Citywest shopping centre and the Saggart local centre, would undermine both centres and be contrary to the overall settlement strategy for the county, he said.
Mr Doherty also noted that An Bord Pleanála had in 2005 refused a previous application to increase the retail space at golf village on the same grounds and on the grounds that such a change would conflict with green belt zoning.
Green Party councillor Tony McDermott, who voted against the rezoning, said it had been a "speculative, developer-led" move.
"This decision defies logic. The last thing the Saggart/Citywest area needs is more shops. The Citywest shopping centre was opened only last September and has plenty of vacant retail space. Saggart Village also has thousands of square feet of retail space available. This variation of the County Development Plan is uncalled for and not good for the area."
He noted that there had been no submissions supporting the zoning during the public consultation process.
Irish Times 19.05.08
"oh you are reporters-thats ok"
That was the curious thing said to me when I showed up at Jim Mansfield's palatial home last Friday, looking to speak to Jimmy Jr about the recent sale of the iconic Citywest Hotel.
It was an unusual remark, but I never got the chance to ask the man who described himself as a friend of the Mansfield family what he meant by it -- or his other comment that I looked "foreign" -- owing to the arrival on the scene of Jimmy Jr's better-known brother, PJ.
Looking tanned and fit as usual, and sitting comfortably behind the wheel of a gleaming BMW 5 Series, PJ was certainly far more relaxed than the individual with whom I had just been speaking to through the electronically controlled gates of Tassaggart House.
I asked PJ through his car's driver-side window about the recent sale of the Citywest Hotel for €27m to a consortium of high rollers with links to locations as exotic and diverse as Monaco, Hong Kong, the Lebanon and Switzerland.
The laconic PJ answered: "I don't know anything about that."
The handing over of the keys to Citywest -- and its adjoining 4,000 person-capacity convention centre and golf course to the British Virgin Island based BSQ Investments -- will be deeply felt by the ailing property tycoon, Jim Mansfield.
At the height of the boom, the venue was said to be worth an estimated €100m and was the jewel in the crown of an empire that Jim Snr had built up over three decades around the west Dublin village of Saggart.
Citywest Hotel allowed Mr Mansfield to flex his considerable financial muscle but it also afforded him a special status among Ireland's political establishment.
Year after year, the hotel played host to the Ard Fheiseanna of the nation's semi-permanent powerbrokers, Fianna Fail.
The walls of the lobby leading into the hotel's massive banquet room are still bedecked with photographs of Mr Mansfield in happier times and in the company of such luminaries as the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
However, what was once a gallery of Ireland's great and good has all the appearances today of a museum exhibit or a shrine to the Celtic Tiger.
Aside from the latest sacrifice he has had to make with the sale of his beloved Citywest Hotel, Mr Mansfield has also had to sell numerous of his and the family's valuable property assets in an effort to satisfy his creditors.
Some €300m was owed to Nama and the Bank of Scotland alone, by the time his HSS group of companies were put into voluntary liquidation in January 2011.
Only last June, the Comer brothers -- Brian and Luke -- snapped up the Mansfields' beloved Palmerstown House estate and golf course for a relatively modest €8m after Nama ordered its sale as part of its efforts to recoup the millions it is owed arising from Mr Mansfield's boom-era borrowings from Irish banks.
Four months earlier, the Mansfield family waved goodbye to Weston Executive Airport when Nama-appointed receiver Kieran Wallace of KPMG offloaded it for €3.5m to the Galway-based civil engineering firm Brian Conneely & Co Associates.
The private airport, which Mr Conneely now intends to upgrade with a view to increasing traffic, had controversially hit the headlines in 2006.
Authorities seized heroin worth an estimated €7m on board a plane which had been bound for Belgium.
In a further embarrassment for Jim Mansfield, the plane carrying the illicit drug was found to have been registered in his name.
It was understood, however, that the plane had been rented out after the jet normally used by the gang involved was grounded for repairs.
Mr Mansfield denied any involvement in the affair, saying at the time: "Weston is one of the only airports in Ireland that no drug has got through."
He said he was shocked to have found his plane being used by smugglers and said he was never implicated in any crime.
Last December, another of the Mansfield family's assets -- the Finnstown Country House Hotel in Lucan, Co Dublin, passed from their ownership when it was sold to a consortium headed up by Louth-based businessman Kevin McGeough for a sum believed to be in the region of €4m.
That Jim Mansfield has had to see everything he once owned slip through his fingers while continuing to battle against Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) must make it all the more difficult to take.
MSA is a degenerative condition which he has had for several years.
The last time I got to speak to the once powerful tycoon at any length, he described how the illness had come to dominate his life, saying: "There are times when I can't even talk right. It comes and goes, but there is no clear day now. It controls everything."