'Wild West' Planning

On January 26th, I wrote about the “cowboy culture’ that passes for good planning in modern Ireland. A report on RTEs News at One (Regional news) last Wednesday serves as a perfect example of how this sort of thing is done in ‘Wild West’ Ireland.

This little gem was actually reported on this blog way back in November. Apparently, a section of a public park in the middle of Limerick city, which was given to the people of Limerick in perpetuity by the Pery family, Earls of Limerick in 1877 was sold to a developer by Limerick City Council.

The People’s Park, which the Pery family intended to be used exclusively as a public amenity for the people of Limerick, now has 59 apartments, shops and a car park. According to the report, the development has ruined the people’s enjoyment and privacy in the park.

The obvious question is, of course, how could Limerick City Council, one of the trustees of the land, get away with this outrage? It’s not as if it could have been done in the dead of night when no one was watching. Have a look here at the requirements for a valid planning application.

So who benefited from this little bit of roguery? Well, the developers, of course but who else? How was it possible for the developer to get all this building done on publicly owned property without any questions being asked?

The Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche has been asked to look into the matter to see if any Dept of Finance or EU rules were broken.

To save readers the bother of tracking this particular piece of dodgy dealing, here’s what’s going to happen. If the minister actually bothers investigating the matter and concludes that the development was illegal, it is likely the developer will be asked if he wouldn’t mind applying for retrospective planning – and that will be the end of the matter.