A multi million euro complex on Clare Island looks set to go ahead after a pub licence was granted for a new development on the island last week.
The project, which has been in the pipeline since 2005, is set to be finished next year after Judge Donagh McDonagh granted a pub licence to Galway native James Cox for his hospitality development.
Barrister Mr Eoin Garavan outlined the ‘massive development’ to Swinford Circuit Court last Friday, stating that there is to be 16 jobs created on the island as a result of the project.
The complex, which is to be built on 6.5 acres of land has a budget of just under €3 million and boasts a ten bedroom lodge, a private dwelling, a small ground floor pub, function room and a restaurant overlooking an outdoor amphitheatre.
Mr Cox, who left Ireland in 1975, had worked as a construction engineer for tall building projects and later in life as the captain of a deep sea salvage ship – having spent just over €500,000 on the purchase of land and professional costs the developer hopes to fasttrack the construction over the next year.
The Galway native and his wife, Ann Cox, decided to move back to Ireland and live on Clare Island, a place they had grown to love after a bereavement in their family. The two, who had been living in New York for a number of years, now have their home in the USA up for sale while renting on Clare Island.
The developer, Mr Cox, told Judge McDonagh that he has been in contact with Fáilte Ireland, along with other government agencies, and hopes to run some three month accredited courses in Celtic studies from the complex as well as providing facilities to the many tourists who come to the island every year.
Mr Cox and his wife Ann had just last week objected to an application by Clare Island Community Centre to obtain a pub licence in place of their restrictive club licence which stipulates that all customers need to be signed in by a club member as well as other restrictions.
Before granting the licence Judge McDonagh applauded the idea noting that he saw it as a ‘remarkable’ project.
“All I can say is how remarkable this project is, it truly is different. It’s an absolutely amazing development. I really do hope it gets developed and hope it is a great success. It would be a tremendous development for the west coast,” Judge McDonagh told Mr Cox.
There were no objectors to the application for a pub licence.