Friday, 19 January 2007

Pearse Farrell takes on Ballina

Phoenix Magazine writes about how ERSTWHILE developer Pearse Farrell – better known for his skills as a liquidator – is not getting one inch of slack from residents of Ballina, whom he infuriated back in 2005 with his original plan for a 24-room hotel on the site of the old Ice House, which is a protected structure. Farrell is now seeking to add four “spa suites” and one bedroom, a contentious request considering that this will increase the development by 50 sq m. The Concerned Quay Residents’ Group has fired in an angry appeal to An Bord Pleanala, calling Farrell’s application “preposterous” given the “massive overdevelopment” on the site and one which will worsen the inadequate car parking facilities. Bord Pleanála inspector Emer Doyle agreed with the residents on the original application in November 2005 and also found it to be a material contravention of local planning guidelines. Moreso, Doyle believed the traffic from the hotel would “endanger public safety”. But happily for Farrell, Doyle’s bosses overruled her and gave his hotel the green light. The bolshy residents, fronted by Fianna Fáil councillor Willie Nolan, have threatened to take the case all the way to the European courts. Nolan isn’t the only Soldier of Destiny rowing in behind the residents – Mayo candidate Dara Calleary also criticised the development following storm damage in December which caused newlyerected hoarding to collapse, blocking road access for hours. It will be recalled that project architect Joe Kennedy rushed through the original plans for the hotel to meet a December 2004 tax incentive deadline, a

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