WORK IS to start “as soon as possible” on the first crematorium in the west, in Shannon. This follows An Bord Pleanála overriding the recommendation of its own inspector to give the go-ahead to Illaunamanagh Ltd for contentious plans to construct the crematorium.
The €1 million plan was vehemently opposed throughout the planning process by Shannon’s mayor, Gerry Flynn (Ind), and residents. However, in deciding not to accept the inspector’s recommendation to refuse planning, the board ruled that the crematorium would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property in the vicinity.
Last year, the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael groups at Clare County Council combined 26 to one in a vote to contravene the South Clare Plan to back the proposal.
The two directors of the company are former members of Clare County Council, Seán Hillery and funeral director Tony McMahon. Mr Hillery remains a member of Shannon Town Council. Mr Hillery said yesterday he was very pleased with the decision, adding that work would get under way “in late-spring early summer”.
Mr Flynn and the Residents of Gleann an Oirr in Shannon had appealed the council’s decision along with two others. Mr Flynn said the inspector’s report recommending refusal “totally justified the concerns I had in opposing the plan”.
He added: “What we will have now is a commercial operation running beside a graveyard where peace and tranquillity are so important. However, I am happy with the stringent conditions attached to the permission.”
An Taisce’s heritage officer Ian Lumley criticised the board’s decision for the design and height of the crematorium’s stack to be left between the applicants and the council for agreement. “This lack of clarity is ill-advised and disenfranchises the local residents in not allowing them to have their input.”
In deciding not to accept the inspector’s recommendation, the appeals board said it had regard to the proximity of the crematorium to a graveyard and noted the applicant’s further submissions on flood risk and existing sea defences at Shannon.