From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From The Western People - 10 March 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
13, Mar 2004 - 12:15

Flynn’s evidence on hold for month
The long awaited appearance of former Minister and EU Commissioner Padraig Flynn before the Mahon Planning Tribunal may not now happen before Easter. The Castlebar man is expected to tell the tribunal chairman, Mr. Alan Mahon, that he got £50,000 from property developer, Tom Gilmartin, but claims it was given for his own use to cover election expenses. Mr. Flynn will also tell the tribunal that he initially thought the cheque was for £5,000 when it was handed to him by the English-based property developer, Mr. Gilmartin, in 1989. The former EU Commissioner was in attendance at the Mahon Tribunal in Dublin Castle last week to hear the evidence of Mr. Glimartin. who has been granted immunity from prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Surprisingly, Mr. Gilmartin’s evidence concentrated more on his involvement with the Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, and the former Finance Minister Ray McSharry.


Mr Gilmartin made a lot of serious allegations against Padraic Flynn during the week. He even claimed that Pee asked him to claim that the cheque had been returned. It will be interesting to see how this claim is dealt with.

Driving back from a meeting in Dublin on Friday evening - past Quarry Vale (Liffey Valley) where the traffic crawls along - even on Sunday afternoons - due to its stupid location. And then all the way to one-off housing lands at Enfield and beyond at about 5 mph, I cursed all those politicians who ever took a brown envelope or election contribution from a developer/land/owner/auctioneer and preferring to line their pockets at the expense of rational planning in the 1980s and 1990s. Watch this space.

Rural dwellers hail new planning rules
The Mayo Rural Dwellers, who were at the forefront of the campaign to have changes made in planning laws for rural houses, have hailed new guidelines published by the Government as a fantastic victory. But An Taisce have been quoted as saying the new rules are "a timebomb" and, in a statement to this paper yesterday (Mon) they flatly contradict figures given by the Minister and the Taoiseach for planning appeals lodged by them. The new rules say that subject to good planning practice, people with rural links are to be favoured for planning as will any applicant applying for permission in an area suffering from population decline. Applicants for housing in rural areas must meet normal planning requirements in relations to matters such as the proper disposal of waste water and road safety. The guidelines also include recommendations concerning site selection and design of rural houses.

More of the same I'm afraid. An election promise. And for once it might be a FF promise that is actually fulfilled. Farmers now earn 800,000 euro per annum selling sites according to the Irish Times. That is almost as much as from the CAP contribution from the European taxpayer paid to farmers in order to keep the Irish country side in good condition. So what do they do? Build houses on it! The genuine farmer can't afford to buy land for cattle any more. Farm 'incomes' went down but land prices went up. (They don't count land sales as farm income though.)

So watch as the 'Sites for sale' signs go up at a field near you. And boil your drinking water folks - a leaky septic tank is coming to an aquifer near you.

The elections are coming up so once again you have a unique chance make Mayo a laughing stock by electing another batch of auctioneer councillors, land-owning-councillors and not forgetting the developer-councillors (or their partners) so that they will maintain their majority on Mayo County Council. I'm worried because they only have a majority of 15 of the 31 councillors at present so it's a slim majority. so get aout and vote and put a few more auctioneers onto the council? We need more auctioneering councillors. Nothing like a bit of conflict of interest to get those one-off houses built.

Castlebar petrol station sells for nearly 500,000 euro
A property in the heart of Castlebar town has been sold for nearly half a million euro. The site of the former Lone Star, Texaco Filling Station on New Antrim Street was sold last week by private treaty. Zoned for town centre commercial use, the site is located across from the Welcome Inn Hotel and was vacant for nearly two years. It comprises 0.15 acres and includes a shop, store and workshop. It is situated at the junction between Lower Chapel Street (Newline) and New Antrim Street. Mr Brendan French of Brendan Touhy and Co, Westport who conducted the sale said, "The sale was agreed on principal last week. It is awaiting contracts to be signed. The site was vacant for some time but was only on the market for a short while.

The LoneStar has been derelict for a very long time now. They took down the pumps and overhead shelter and removed the underground storage tanks ages ago. It looked like there was a big decontamination job needed to rid the site of oil and petrol that had soaked into the soil beneath. It will be interesting to see what use the triangle at New Antrim and New Line is put too. A new hotel? Naw!



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