Two groups appeal Clare development

 

An Taisce and the Burren Action Group formally lodged appeals to An Bord Pleanala yesterday against Clare County Council's decision to reject planning permission for visitor facilities at Mullaghmore in the Burren National Park, Co Clare.

The strategic move by the two groups opposed to the proposed development comes in response to the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Ms de Valera, lodging an appeal to the board on Tuesday evening against the council's decision.

The manoeuvre by the groups will allow both parties equal status to the Minister - appellant status - in the appeals process instead of the observer capacity both would have held if they had not appealed.

A spokesperson for the action group, Mr Mick Millar, said yesterday its submission reiterates its preference for a necklace of visitor facilities within, or on the edge of, existing settlements so as to maximise the economic benefit of such tourism-related facilities to local communities. Last month, planning permission for the development was refused by Clare Council on account of "its location within an area of outstanding beauty and also having regard to its nature and scale".

Ms de Valera, speaking after the Commissioners of Public Works lodged the appeal on behalf of her office, said she has always held that the proposed development of the entry point was not a material contravention of the county development plan 1988.

A spokesperson for the Minister declined yesterday to comment on the two groups' decision to appeal to An Bord Pleanala.