TRALEE TOWN Council yesterday gave planning permission for a multimillion euro retail park in the historic GAA grounds of the Austin Stack Park.
Councillors in the Co Kerry town had rezoned the grounds last October to accommodate retail use. The planned €200 million development is being spearheaded by local businessmen Seamus O'Halloran and John Casey.
The project will see the GAA transfer to the Ballybeggan racecourse and coursing grounds outside the town in an area under the remit of Kerry County Council.
A 630-page planning application for housing in addition to playing pitches, a 15,000-seater stadium, offices and retail units in Ballybeggan has also been lodged.
However, there has been resistance to both applications.
In the case of the Austin Stack project, town centre traders have objected and it is likely yesterday's town council decision will be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
Residents, members of religious orders, environmental organisations, the National Roads Authority and a grandnephew of the patriot Austin Stack are among the objectors .
But the mayor of Tralee, Cllr Miriam McGillicuddy, said she was "absolutely thrilled" with yesterday's decision. "It is a tremendous project and will be very good for business locally. The fact that the office element will include financial services is also a major plus."
Sinn Féin town councillor Cathal Foley said: "Tralee has been in serious need of job creation and this development could provide up to . . . 1,000 jobs in the long term."
The Irish Times