Purpose now clearly identified

I see planning permission has been granted for a hotel on land formerly owned by the Presentation Sisters in Cashel. The decision is not unexpected as the property is very valuable and there’s lots of money to be made. Here’s what I wrote about the matter in February last year.

The latest planning scam was discussed on the Pat Kenny Show yesterday morning. A prime piece of property owned by nuns in the centre of Cashel was to be bought by the local council who claimed they wanted to develop the property as a park for the people of the town.

The Council, however, was dragging its heels so the nuns found another buyer. The Council responded by threatening them with a Compulsory Purchase Order and forced them to sell at a deflated price.

Once the deal was done the Council lost no time in rezoning the property and selling it on to a developer who plans to build a hotel on the land. In the process, the Council made a tidy little profit of €1.2 million from the deal.

The people of Cashel are very angry but what can they do? Well, nothing really, except complain and protest. Oh, they can also object to the planning permission that has already been submitted by the developer.

But who makes the decision on this planning application? Why, it’s the very same Council who lied to the nuns, pressurised them into selling at a greatly reduced rate and rezoned the property to substantially increase its value. I wonder what their decision will be.

The report also includes the best example of official gobbledygook that I’ve heard in a long time. When a spokesman for the Council was questioned on the change of use for the property he responded:

“Well, the Council at the time wanted to buy the land for, you know, specific purposes which weren’t clearly identified.”