Refusal for paralysed woman ‘a cruel blow’

A paralysed woman is heartbroken because plans to build her “dream home” in Co Limerick were refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.

Patricia Ingle, 28, received an award of €10.6m in staged payments from the High Court, in a personal injuries case. She was left paralysed and brain-damaged after contracting a rare disease.

She suddenly fell ill in 2008 and spent 1,000 days in hospital. She had been working in a pet store, Petmanis, in Limerick.

It was alleged that she contracted the disease as a result of inhaling dust from the faeces of parrots that suffered from chlamydia psittacosis — an airborne infection that can be transmitted from birds to humans.

A single objection was lodged against the plans to build a six-bedroom home for Ms Ingle and her family, on a 3.7-hectare site at Five Cross Road, Farnane, Murroe, Co Limerick.

The plans were granted permission by Limerick City and County Council in November of 2016, but appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The site had, however, twice previously been refused planning, and Bord Pleanála accepted that the proposal conflicted with the county development plan.

Architects urged, in their submission, that while they accept that, “under normal circumstances, one-off housing in the countryside has to be discouraged, we can’t emphasise enough that these are truly extraordinary circumstances”.

Her family said they examined between 50 and 60 potential sites, but the proposed site was the most suitable location. Letters of support from the wider community in Murroe, where the family reside, were also sent on Ms Ingle’s behalf.

“It is just devastating news for us all, and particularly Patricia, after months of anticipation,” said her mother, Annette Ingle.

“She loved that site, and we had all been so very hopeful, as other potential sites had fallen through.

“She is heartbroken and so are we for her. It is another cruel blow for Patricia. She has gone through an awful lot of disappointment in her life and this is the latest one in a long road.

“We were not trying to build a hotel. It’s a single-storey house, and it just feels very unfair, for someone who is disabled through no fault of their own.”

Ms Ingle requires 24-hour care, including a nurse and a health-care assistant, with the proposed development allowing for space for them to stay overnight.

She also requires speech therapy, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, and a psychologist.

Cork-based CBA Architecture, on behalf of Ms Ingle, urged planners to recognise that “Patricia’s home will be her most important asset” and they highlighted her “unique and self-evident needs”.

“Patricia will spend more time in her home than the average person and this is one of the reasons why this site is suitable for Patricia.

“It has been advised by medical professionals that Patricia will benefit greatly from this [proposed home] psychologically and this may have a positive knock-on effect, physically.

“Unfortunately, our planning policies do not appear to support situations such as Patricia’s, which are difficult to anticipate and do not comply with the usual requirements.

“A house catering to her special needs is not catered for in a rural context by any development,” stated the architects.

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