Best News Broadcaster – In Cashel

The Cashel planning scam was further analysed on Today with Pat Kenny last Wednesday (Previous posts here and here).

Philip Boucher Hayes, head of RTEs Investigative Unit, spoke to Cashel Town Clerk, Seamus Maher about the Council’s threat of using a Compulsory Purchase Order to force the nuns to sell their property cheaply.

Maher: Looking at it from the point of view of the need to acquire land for our various purposes it’s a method that could be used; it wasn’t used in this case

Hayes: But the threat of it was used

Maher: Well, it was mentioned, I suppose in that sense I wouldn’t call it a threat

Hayes: But the letter does say ‘If necessary the council will consider the acquisition of this portion of the property by way of Compulsory Purchase Order’, that’s a threat.

Maher: I suppose, if necessary, it’s a mild one, I mean nobody was putting their backs to the wall

Hayes: Is it a bit of a sharp practice, raising the prospect of CPO and acquiring land, holding on to it for a while, watch it inflate in price and then sell it off at a profit

Maher: I suppose when you’re in negotiation for something you will do your best for the town or the local authority or business or whatever you’re involved in and I wouldn’t have seen it as malpractice or underhand dealing or whatever I mean there’s more things going on really which are much more serious than that

In another development the Council has removed preservation orders on 16 very old trees on the property so that the developer can knock them down.

Belated congratulations to Philip Boucher Hayes, head of RTEs impressive Investigative Unit. Philip won the Best News Broadcaster of the Year last November.