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Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott falls foul of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council over Stepaside treehouse

Hardly a life-size Stonehenge replica á la Spinal Tap, is it?

If you heard that Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott was in trouble with his local council, you would probably assume that the Sheffield-born rocker was keeping his neighbours up all night by throwing wild parties. Instead, the hair metal star, now 64, and his wife, Kristine, who live in Stepaside in South Co Dublin, have fallen foul of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for building a treehouse for their younger children on the grounds of their home.

On January 9th, the council issued an enforcement order on the couple for building an unauthorised development in a thicket of trees in the grounds of Stepaside House, their sprawling home in the foothills of Three Rock Mountain. They subsequently sought a ruling from the council that the treehouse was exempt from planning permission but, after a visit by an inspector in March, the council ruled the 7sq m structure required planning permission, citing a precedent from a 2017 ruling by An Bord Pleanála in relation to another treehouse in Limerick.

The Elliotts are now seeking retention permission for the structure, which comprises a timber deck supported by tree trunks with timber and Perspex screening on the sides. Hardly a life-size Stonehenge replica á la Spinal Tap, is it?

Truss has plenty to say about Ireland

When not giving out about Boris Johnson’s dog, Dilyn, infesting number 10 with fleas, Liz Truss has plenty to say about Ireland in her new memoir, Ten Years to Save the West. Despite only being the UK prime minister for just 49 days, she found time to notice that Joe Biden was always “on one side of the argument” over Brexit and was constantly being “egged on by the Irish Embassy” in Washington. She also concluded that the protocol, which she described as “an early Christmas present from Boris Johnson”, was not working in Northern Ireland, with businesses forced to “sign a lot of pointless forms”.


Although, if she was so concerned about Northern Ireland, perhaps she could have been more careful with the cover design of her book that describes her as the prime minister of Great Britain. Forgetting something?

McEntee’s GAA challenge

Helen McEntee, a niece of All-Ireland winner Gerry McEntee and former Meath manager Andy McEntee, comes from GAA royalty. But the Minister for Justice is now facing a number of judicial reviews from the GAA, believed to be related to applications for the investor visa programme.

Kerry GAA, which had been hoping to tap into the scheme to raise money to redevelop Fitzgerald Stadium, lodged a judicial review against a decision by McEntee in the High Court on Tuesday, while Islandeady GAA club in Co Mayo, lodged a similar action on Wednesday. The Department of Justice did not address the legal actions last week but said it was expected to take “a number of years” to address applications submitted before the closure date.

Wonder if McEntee knows that Islandeady’s president is none other than her old boss, Enda Kenny?

Banty bags permission for new house

One GAA figure that doesn’t seem to have too many problems tapping into funds is Seamus “Banty” McEnaney from Co Monaghan. The former Monaghan and Meath manager has made a small fortune from offering accommodation to international protection applicants. He is now set to spend some of it on a new house in Corduff, Co Monaghan.

An Bord Pleanála last week granted Banty, who was suspended by Monaghan GAA for 12 weeks during one of the Covid-19 lockdowns after photographs emerged of the county team breaching guidelines by training, permission to build a 582sq m house in rural Shanco. Monaghan County Council initially rejected his application because of the house’s impact on the landscape, even though it had previously granted him permission for a house that was twice as large, with a detached garage, games room and indoor pool.

Bunny burgers, anyone?

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel Foundation, a philanthropic organisation founded in 2004 by the businessman, who is due to earn more than €100 million before tax from the sale of his majority stake in the Beacon Hospital, has been providing young people in Trinidad and Tobago with rabbits to rear. The charity provides the rabbits and teaches young people how to make pellet feed and “create value-added products in the community” as part of the Bunny Builders initiative.

The plan initially involved older children slaughtering the rabbits as they got bigger and making products such as rabbit burgers. Local media reports said that some children in the community didn’t want to kill the animals, so they were taught business skills and how to sell them instead.

Wanderers padel on

Padel tennis, a cross between tennis and squash which originated in Mexico, is all the rage lately. A new facility has just opened in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, with four courts, and several hotels have been incorporating courts, including Adare Manor and the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney. Dermot Desmond, familiar with the sport from Sandy Lane’s two courts, likes it so much he built one on the grounds of his Shrewsbury Road house.

The next destination for the sport is the unlikely setting of Bray Wanderers’ Carlisle Grounds where the club is hoping to build four courts beside its main stadium as a revenue-raising exercise. With the club waiting for years on State funding to redevelop its grounds, it has obviously decided to, er, padel its own canoe.

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