Plans for casinos

 

Madam, – The approval by North Tipperary County Council of Richard Quirke’s casino development in rural Tipperary caused me to do a double take (Home News, November 2nd).

So in the middle of the current property meltdown there is somebody putting up a huge gambling emporium in the very provincial-sounding Two-Mile-Borris, and he doesn’t have a problem with raising the €460 million needed to complete his project, while at the same time there is no legislation in place to support such a venture?

He even includes a large hotel, while the hotel industry is on its knees and, no less, a Celtic Tiger-style heliport is being built to accommodate all those high-flyers he expects to descend on north Tipperary. And in a tribute to dodgy taste there will also be a replica White House, to be used for banqueting and wedding receptions.

Are these councillors and Mr Quirke living in the real world? – Yours, etc,

ALEX PETKOV,

Saint Vincent Road,

Greystones,

Co Wicklow.

Madam, – Ireland is already oversupplied with racecourses and with taxpayer-owned hotels, golf courses and convention centres. Addiction in Ireland takes many forms, with dangerous drugs being the most obvious example. While gambling and alcohol are not addictive to the majority of people, for a significant minority addictive behaviour can be catastrophic.

In Ireland compulsive addictive behaviour is not confined to alcoholics and drug addicts. Gambling has become a national disease. The majority of Irish politicians, bankers and developers and a significant minority of the Irish population engaged in reckless gambling, often with other peoples’ money and security, leaving the Irish nation bankrupted.

The majority of the Irish people did not engage in such reckless behaviour, but do bear some responsibility for the governments they elected knowing that many of the politicians they were voting for were corrupt individuals.

Denial is a mechanism used by many addicts to avoid dealing with their addiction. There are indications that we are going into denial about our national gambling addiction.

One of the most glaring examples is the Michael Lowry-supported Las Vegas style gambling casino in Tipperary, which includes a luxury hotel and an indoor racecourse. Mr Lowry is gambling that he can force the Government to change the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956, and given the provenance of our present Government, Mr Lowry’s cards may turn up trumps. Not to be outdone, an even more outlandish project is proposed for Athlone, apparently backed by Chinese investors and being dubbed “Shanghai-on-Shannon”. The Athlone plans include a Chinese Palace convention centre, two five-star hotels, railway station, fire station, golf course, and much more.

These proposals are crazy and unsustainable, and like much of the Celtic Tiger property boom may end up as taxpayer liabilities, further damaging our recovery prospects.

These projects must be stopped now before they get beyond the delusional stage. – Yours, etc,

EDWARD HORGAN,

Newtown,

Castletroy, Limerick.