Declan Ganley calls time on €2m Galway pub plan

Businessman says ‘entrepreneurs are treated like crap’ after planners reject scheme

Declan Ganley:  bought the unoccupied Derreen Inn pub complex last year. He said he would “save” it for the local community. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Declan Ganley: bought the unoccupied Derreen Inn pub complex last year. He said he would “save” it for the local community. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

 

Prominent businessman and former Libertas political campaigner Declan Ganley is abandoning a €2 million plan to redevelop his local pub after Galway planners rejected the scheme on Monday following objections from State agency Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

Mr Ganley last year bought the unoccupied Derreen Inn pub complex, which is located about 60 metres from the end of his driveway on the main N63 road at Abbeyknockmoy in Galway. He said he would “save” it for the local community.

He planned to redevelop it as a a new thatched pub, The Edmund Burke. The plan also included a restaurant, a handful of commercial units and a four-storey tower at the rear inspired by a local structure linked to WB Yeats.

Mr Ganley applied for permission for the plan in spring but TII objected in March, citing issues such as an intensification of traffic to the site, which is located on the side of a road with the national speed limit of 100km an hour.

In June, Mr Ganley submitted further information. He committed to dropping a guesthouse plan for the tower and said it would only be used to provide accommodation for family friends.

His advisers also included information meant to rebut the issues around traffic intensification. TII said its objections stood.

Twitter outburst

Galway planners have decided to reject the scheme, prompting Mr Ganley to launch an outburst on Twitter that “entrepreneurs are treated like crap and taxed to the hilt”.

Speaking later to The Irish Times, Mr Ganley said he had been advised that appealing against a refusal for traffic and road safety issues would be a waste of time.

He said he would eventually have invested €1.5 million to €2 million on the overall plan, but that he now expected the site to remain idle.

“It will stay closed and that’s it,” he said. “You try and create local jobs and some bureaucrat in Dublin decides they know better.”

When asked if he would sell the site, he replied: “Who would buy it? I wouldn’t inflict it on anyone.”

TII declined to comment on Monday.