Lowry says constituency will lose out on jobs


THE MAIN political supporter of the planned casino in Co Tipperary, Independent TD Michael Lowry, said he was “disappointed” with the Government’s decision to block the development.

Mr Lowry, who has backed the proposal from the outset in 2009, said he wanted to support plans that would bring an economic boost and up to 2,000 jobs to his Tipperary North constituency.

“I’m disappointed, particularly in the context of the announcements that we’ve had regarding job losses this year,” he said.

“The casino is one element of an overall development.”

He said the developer Richard Quirke’s stated position has been that, if the licence was granted, the development would proceed at the one time. “What he has to now look at is the feasibility of putting in place the other elements of the development, without the casino or with a reduced-size casino.”

Asked if the announcement demonstrated he had lost influence in Government circles, Mr Lowry said: “That is a factual position. I brought it as far as I could and we made fantastic progress and this is a political decision by the two political parties in government, Fine Gael and Labour.”

Thurles Chamber of Commerce president Austin Broderick said the area was “totally devastated” by the Government’s refusal to allow a large casino. “It’s unreal. One thousand jobs gone down the Swanee. This is crazy. We’re hoping that the equestrian centre and the racecourse will go ahead but, at the moment, the casino seems to be gone.”

The project is the brainchild of businessman Richard Quirke, a native of Thurles and a former garda who counts the Dr Quirkey’s Goodtime Emporium on Dublin’s O’Connell Street among his commercial interests. In a statement concerning the project, he said he welcomed a review of gambling legislation.

“In the context of the Tipperary venue it is our intention to engage with the department to determine the definition and extent of ‘modest’ casinos,” he said.

“We will make constructive submissions and arguments to ensure that the terms and scale of the licence granted, will, when incorporated into the development, be viable.”