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Decision on Achill-henge expected this week

Decision on Achill-henge expected this week

Edwin McGreal

A decision from An Bord Pleanála on the controversial Achill-henge development is expected this week.
The decision is officially due today but when contacted by The Mayo News yesterday, a spokesperson for An Bord Pleanála couldn’t confirm if the decision would be released tomorrow but that the process was ‘in the final stages’.
The man behind the controversial development, Joe McNamara, appealed to An Bord Pleanála after Mayo County Council ruled that Stonehenge-esque development contravened planning laws. McNamara and a small crew of helpers constructed the remarkable structure over the course of one weekend last November. It is located on commonage, of which Mr McNamara has access rights, on a hilltop above the village of Pollagh on Achill Island.
It consists of 30 concrete columns, each close to fifteen feet tall, with lintels going around in a circular formation. It is 30 metres in diameter and nearly 30 metres in circumference.
Mr McNamara has appealed the decision of the council that the Achill-henge structure is not exempt from planning laws. He has previously described it in the High Court as an ‘ornamental garden’.
Mayo County Council took a High Court injunction in the matter and the Court ruled that should An Bord Pleanála rule in Mayo County Council’s favour, then Mr McNamara must take it down himself. He spent three days in jail for contempt of court after ignoring an injunction served on him during the construction of Achill-henge last year.
The structure continues to attract visitors and locals in Achill have speculated that it is ‘unlikely’ that McNamara will take it down.
Sources close to him have hinted that it is ‘a tomb to the Celtic Tiger’.
McNamara, a former property developer, was also behind a series of high-profile protests against Anglo-Irish Bank, including driving a cement truck daubed with the words ‘Toxic Bank’ at the gates of Leinster House. His protests earned him the moniker ‘The Anglo Avenger’.

HAVE YOUR SAY email edwinmcgreal@mayonews.ie with your comments