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Double bypass boost for GAMA

GAMA Construction Ltd this week received a double boost in its plans to progress the €190 million Ennis bypass, by securing planning per- mission for two quarries to serve the project.

Clare County Council granted planning to the Turkish company, in spite of Department of the Environ- ment concerns over the impact that one of the quarries might have on ie uom Oye 1 ic

The quarry at Knockanean is lo- cated between two bat roosts, includ- ing the ‘secret’ €100,000 bat-house on the route.

However, a bat survey carried out

by Inis Environmental Services did not detect the presence of the pro- tected Lesser Horseshoe Bat in the area.

The planner ruling on the case, found that the impact of the quarry on bats was not considered signifi- cant if all the mitigation measures were put in place.

The Council ruled that in relation to the nature and scale of the propos- al and the intended use of the lands, the proposal would not seriously in- jure the amenities of the area.

There are 27 houses within 500 metres of the proposed quarry. Lo- cal man, PJ Williams lodged an ob- jection against the proposal. He told the council, “I operate a stud-farm

close-by and I will hold the Council responsible for any damage, injury to

animals or loss, if planning permis- sion 1s granted.

The Department of the Environ- ment claims the cumulative impact of the three quarries currently before the council will impact on the local environment.

However, in the case of the Knock- anean proposal, the council’s plan- ner concluded, “it is considered that as the proposal is for a temporary quarrying activity required to facili- tate the completion of a major infra- structural project for the county and for the wider western corridor, it 1s broadly acceptable in principle.”

A spokesman for GAMA Construc- tion Ireland Ltd said would proceed taking all of the planning conditions

made by Clare County Council into account.

Howard Williams, senior consult- ant with Inis Environmental Serv- ices said, “the strict planning con- ditions that have been imposed will ensure that this development will be managed in an environmentally friendly way.

‘However it is felt that to impose a €56,024 fee for use of public infra- structure and facilities benefiting the development is excessive as no pub- lic roads or any other infrastructure will be used.”

A council decision on the third quarry 1s expected later this month.

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before death crasn

A PRELIMINARY report of the cir- cumstances surrounding a_ helicopter crash last month in south Galway, which claimed the lives of two businessmen, has revealed that the aircraft’s “speed reduced significantly” prior to the col- lision, in the Slieve Aughty Mountains near Gort.

Data from the aircraft radar at Shan- non confirmed that the helicopter main- tained its track while passing over the mountains near Derrybrien at 10.45am on Saturday, July 9. However, according to the initial report of the Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Department of Transport, the helicopter’s speed re- duced significantly, after “the final ra- dar returns showed a sharp turn to the right and the signal then disappeared.”

Two Galway businessman, publican Mark Reilly and Damien Bergin who was involved in the construction indus- try, died in hospital following the crash. A third man was seriously injured. The three were returning to the helicopter’s base near Galway Airport, having spent the night in New Ross, Co Wexford.

The investigation has also established

that shortly before the accident, pilot Damien Bergin was in radio commu- nication with another helicopter at Gal- way airport. According to the AAIU, the call was routine in nature, but was the last known communication from the helicopter.

It has also been confirmed that Dam- ien Bergin used a mobile phone to raise the alarm as he lay fatally injured in the wreckage. Two Galway-based helicop- ters flew to the scene following the call, as did the Shannon-based Irish Coast- guard chopper and ground-based emer- gency services. The casualties were located and evacuated to hospital about one hour after the accident, the report SP HKG

A preliminary examination of the helicopter wreckage showed no evi- dence of pre-impact failure, although there were several reports received by the investigation team indicating poor visibility and low cloud in the area at the time of the accident.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit probe into the crash is continuing and the unit has yet to publish a full report.

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Electoral register CET M ET

that work is beginning next week on the draft register for 2006 and AU UTE

Through an _ adver-

tisement campaign, the council will be asking new voters, or people who have changed ad- dress, to fill out a form and inform the council.

Approximately fifteen council staff have special responsibilities for keep- ing the register updated and for eliminating the deceased from the list of voters.

“We have field workers who try to ensure that it 1s as accurate as possible,’ said Mr McNamara.

He said the onus was also on people to inform the council of any chang- es to addresses or names.

“It is now timely to ask people to check the regis- ter and inform us if they notice any duplications or omissions,” he said.

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Cet tea

LOCAL residents in Gaurus, on the outskirts of Ennis, have railed against plans to construct a €40 million housing development in the area.

Earlier this year, William McGrath and Frank Stackpoole lodged plans to construct 132 semi-detached, 70 terraced and seven detached homes in the Gaurus area, which is located in the Doora-Barefield parish.

However, following a public meet- ing at the Fahy Hall, the residents have come together to lodge a stri-

dent objection against the plan.

They state: “The density of hous- ing proposed for this development is inappropriate to an edge of town location, where sufficient land has been zoned to allow for sustainable growth in the area for the next 10 years.

“A high density development in this area would lead to the destruc- tion of the residential amenities cur- rently being enjoyed by home owners in the area.

“The land is zoned as ‘other settle- ment land’ where any development should by definition “conserve and

enhance the quality and character of the area, to protect residential amen- ity and allow for development appro- priate to the sustainable growth of the settlement.

“The proposed high density de- velopment would contravene this requirement in a rural area charac- terised by low density development and single dwellings.

‘All houses on this road are cur- rently bungalows or dormer. The proposed site of two-storey houses are out of character with the area and in the case of single dwellings bor- dering the proposed development,

will lead to the destruction of their privacy.

“The development is proposed on land immediately beside a lake and its immediate surroundings are rural in nature. A housing development of this size would likely have a negative impact on the environment/wildlife/ plantlife in the vicinity. Immediately adjacent to a Special Area of Con- servation, the development may pose an ecological risk to this area, espe- cially given the increase in housing developments close by and proposed housing developments already.

“The local county road network

is defective in width, alignment and junction standard to service a de- velopment of this scale. Access to the Ennis by-pass will be via Gau- rus Bridge, already a_ bottle-neck and Ballymacahill Cross, traversing three junctions with sub-standard sight-lines. Access to the Quin road is via a dangerous cross-road with a high accident rate due to poor vis- ibility and excessive speed

The developers have scaled down their proposal in response to a fur- ther information request and a deci- sion is expected on the application JE TKomaavtcwmastevelsen

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Council accused NEYO R SUC eh

CLARE County Council has been ac- cused of engaging in an abuse of proc- ess in its bid to compulsory purchase land for a new €25 million waste wa- ter treatment plant for Ennis.

The charge comes from land-owner, Peter Anthony Liddy who has joined the Diocese of Killaloe in lodging a formal objection to the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the scheme.

Mr Liddy’s hard-hitting objection stems from the Council not seeking to acquire lands it will sterilize for any future development as it 1s designating the lands as a buffer zone around the waste water treatment plant proposed for Clareabbey.

In his objection, Mr Liddy describes the Council’s CPO as “ill-conceived, uninformed and premature”.

His objection states: “It now tran- spires that the Council now only in- tends to CPO part only of the lands it initially agreed to purchase and now also wished to place a buffer zone over most of what remains, thereby steriliz- ing the same.

“The piece of land not being com-

pulsory acquired by the Council is of virtually no value to our client as it is of no economic, commercial or agri- cultural value.

“We would suggest the Council is now attempting to acquire not only the lands which it initially agreed to pur- chase, but is in essence, acquiring the whole lot as a result of the imposition of this buffer zone over most of the re- mains of Mr Liddy’s property.”

“By doing this, the Council finds that the acquiring costs will be halved, but the net benefit to the Council will be the same as if they purchased all of our client’s lands. We would suggest that this is a complete abuse of process and will not be tolerated by Mr Liddy.

Meanwhile the Diocese of Killaloe this week sought to distance itself from the contents of the objection lodged in its name to the CPO.

The diocese — prior to selling the lands to a developer in June — did lodge an objection, but only against the 1m- position of a buffer zone around the waste water treatment plant. However, the new owner has lodged a revised ob- jection, listing a number of grounds in the letter to An Bord Pleanala.