A Waterford county councillor has publicly called for “special planning treatment” for the Ring Gaeltacht after claiming the future of the region was under threat from “too many blow-ins”.
Séamus O’Donnell voiced his concerns, first at a Dungarvan-Lismore Municipal District meeting, before repeating them before a full county council meeting.
The Independent councillor was irked by a case in which a local man had planning permission for a house overturned by An Bord Pleanála. Mr O’Donnell described the man as a secondary teacher, native to the area, and due to be married shortly. Contrary to the recommendation of its own inspector, An Bord Pleanála had upheld an objection lodged by “a complete blow-in”, who was non-Irish and had settled locally, he said.
Mr O’Donnell also spoke publicly previously against Dungarvan accepting asylum seekers. He said it was his “honest opinion” that the Gaeltacht should have special treatment above any other region as “it is dying out because too many blow-ins are coming in”.
Mr O’Donnell also referred to the proliferation of windfarms in the country, insisting the planning appeals’ board had “too much power, is ruining the whole of Ireland and should be abolished”.
The council’s senior planner, Jim O’Mahoney, said Bord Pleanála was established by State legislation and Waterford Council could not, and would not, interfere with that standing.
The senior executive for economic development, Riche Walsh said that, as an amalgamated authority, the council was under Government instruction to retain it city and town development plans until further notice.
He also said the status of the Gaeltacht will remain unchanged as development plans cannot change until the council was allowed to review them.
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