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Decision to recommend refusal for Achill house is wrong - councillor


Anton McNulty

A COUNCILLOR has described as ‘wrong’ a recommendation by Mayo County Council to refuse planning permission to build a house in an area where 16 holiday homes were built.
The planning application for a house to be located in Keel West, Dooagh, Achill came before last week’s meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District where councillors heard it will be recommended for refusal.
Mr John McMyler, Senior Planner with Mayo County Council, explained that the application is located in an exposed and elevated site in a designated scenic area and this was a reason for the recommendation to refuse.
The meeting heard that the site is located on the road to Keem Bay and close to 16 holiday homes which were constructed in the 1990s. Achill councillor Paul McNamara, who has regularly clashed with planners over rural planning, said the applicant wanted to live in the community full-time and it was wrong he was being denied the opportunity.
“Close to where the applicant wants to build is a development of 16 houses and none of them are occupied and yet this applicant is up for refusal. There is not a light in any of those 16 houses … this man wants to to build a house and have a light on all year round. It is wrong and is affecting life in rural Ireland from Blacksod to Louisburgh including Achill. I compliment people who want to build in this area [because] it will take this man 20 minutes before he crosses the bridge [at Achill Sound] to find work,” he said.
Mr McMyler told the meeting that the final decision was due on December 24 which led Cllr Michael Holmes to quip that it would be a ‘nice letter to get from Santa Claus’. He added that people who want to live in rural Ireland keep the lights on and keep the schools open.
Erris-based councillor Gerry Coyle said he did not know the area but stated that they should not stop people who want to live in an area 365 days of the year.
Commenting on the decision to grant 16 houses close by, Cllr McMyler said it was before his time. He said he did not think there was any way out for the applicant to get planning permission because it was such a scenic area.
Cllr McNamara said the council were making it difficult for people in rural Ireland to make ends meat and the way things were going rural Ireland was being turned into a wildlife park.

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