You are viewing the content for Saturday 18 February 2006

Callely may have to undo home renovations

By Paul Kelly
CONTROVERSIAL ex-minister Ivor Callely may be forced to reconvert back into a garage a guest room development at his plush countryside holiday home in West Cork.

The Fianna Fáil TD did not appeal against a Cork County Council decision to refuse retention for the unauthorised garage conversion project in Kilcrohane.

The matter is now in the hands of the county council’s enforcement section.

Mr Callely’s application to retain the proposed extension was turned down by the planning section last month.

The Dublin TD - who quit Bertie Ahern’s Government in December amid controversy - had until Thursday to appeal to An Bord Pleanála. The planning appeals body confirmed yesterday that no application had been received from the former junior minister.

A spokesman for An Bord Pleanála said: "There was no appeal lodged. The case is now an issue for the enforcement section of Cork County Council. The ball is in their court."

Council officials could force Mr Callely to turn the detached block of guest accommodation back into a garage.

Otherwise, they could also force him to carry out remedial work to address concerns they have about the buildings.

Mr Callely had increased the height of the 150 square metre garage by more than a metre.

Cork County Council had granted permission for other alterations to the home but refused to allow the work on the garage.

Planning chiefs sent him a letter saying he had 28 days to appeal against their decision to An Bord Pleanála.

Council spokeswoman Kay Keegan said Mr Callely would now have to contact the authority with his proposals for the garage.

"It’s only the garage that is the problem," she said.

"The applicant knows that if he does not appeal then he must come back to us and tell us what he is going to do."

Mr Callely was a junior transport minister but got embroiled in controversy following resignations of civil servants from his office and a misguided attempt to stop one of them leaving by offering him a car.

Mr Callely quit a day after allegations that a construction company had paid for his home in Clontarf, Dublin, to be painted in 1992.

Mr Callely was yesterday unavailable for comment.