Landowners along Ennis bypass route shared in €37m payment

Tue, May 19, 2009, 01:00

ONE LANDOWNER along the route of the €200 million Ennis bypass received more than €4 million from Clare County Council for 12.5 acres of land.

The landowner is one of nine millionaires created out of the compulsory purchase of land along the 21km route.

The purchases were completed mainly during the property boom and the figures show that a second landowner received €3.7 million for 9.25 acres of land.

In all, landowners along the route shared in a €37 million bonanza according to figures obtained from Clare County Council through the Freedom of Information Act.

The most expensive piece of land along the route was a two acre plot that sold for €1.8 million.

A fourth landowner received €2.1 million for 16 acres of land while a fifth received €1.5 million for 20.5 acres.

The other landowners to receive in excess of €1 million include one person who received €1.5 million for 11 acres; another who received €1.1 million for 21.5 acres and one other received €1 million for 7.5 acres.

A ninth “millionaire” received €1.2 million for 16.25 acres and 3.7 acres of severed land. Three other landowners received in excess of €900,000, while a further five received in excess of €500,000.

A further 17 landowners received between €250,000 and €500,000. Thirteen landowners received between €200,000 and €250,000, while a further 26 landowners received between €100,000 and €200,000.

The bypass removed an estimated 20,000 vehicles from Ennis each day with the final section opened in December 2007 and work is continuing on the next phase of the Atlantic Corridor with the bypassing of Gort and Crusheen.

The firm which constructed the Ennis bypass, Gama Construction told the Labour Court last year that the company’s loss on the Ennis scheme could be as much as €45 million. The figures show that Gama Construction Ltd received €132 million in payments for the scheme. Engineering firm along the route, Jacobs Engineering Ltd, received fees totalling €6.7 million.

The figures – which are inclusive of VAT – show that Ennis auctioneer Paddy Browne Co, which would have carried out negotiations with the landowners along the route on behalf of the council, received €1.33 million.

The council’s solicitors, Michael Houlihan Co, received €1.2 million. Construction firm Coffey Construction Ltd received €787,311, while Crusheen-based archaeological firm TVAS Ireland Ltd received €721,797 for the extensive digs along the route.