County Council News, August 2007

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Proposed Power Station at Derrydonnell

The Quinn Group which owns BUPA Ireland and Quinn Cement among other things has acquired approximately 30 acres of forest land from Coillte in the Derrydonnell / Tobberoe area. It is their intention to apply for permission to build a Gas-fired Electricity Generating Station there.

This news has come as a bolt from the blue to the locality and especially the residents of the vicinity, who are very concerned at the whole process and what the implications are into the future.

As a local representative I have been contacted by a number of people in the area and after some enquiries the situation, as I understand, is as follows:

The Quinn Group has contacted Bord Pleanála in order to ascertain if a planning application for the Station will be dealt with under the new Strategic Infrastructure Act.
If Bord Pleanála decide that the proposal should be dealt with as a normal application, Quinns must then apply through Galway County Council where the public can make submissions as normal.
If the proposal is considered by Bord Pleanála to be Strategic Infrastructure (as is likely) then the application bypasses the local council and goes directly to An Bord Pleanála.

At that stage a report is prepared by Galway County Council where public submissions are invited. The content of these submissions is part of this report, which is then submitted to An Bord Pleanála and which then makes its decision to grant or refuse.

My understanding is that there will be no Oral Hearing as part of this process and the only appeal is by Judicial Review through the courts. The Strategic Infrastructure Act is new legislation and to some extent we are in unknown territory as to its operation.

The residents of the area are very understandably aggrieved at the lack of consultation which marks the whole deal to date. They rightly feel that they have been good neighbours of Coillte for generations and now a deal, which may have major implications for their lives and property values, has been done behind their backs. This behaviour, they feel, is unacceptable from a state owned company. They worry about the possibility of new pylons and their impact on the area and the extra traffic on the Derrydonnell /Athenry road where local people can’t even get planning for a family home.

However, I have been contacted in recent days by a representative from the Quinn Group who assures me that, whatever the planning requirement, they wish to consult fully with the local people and, as an initial step, I expect to meet with him in the coming weeks. From that meeting I may have more information on their plans for the site and the possible impact on the local area, bearing in mind that nothing has yet been applied for, never mind been granted.

This is a very upsetting situation for the people living near the site and their concerns must be reflected in whatever result emerges from this process.

Town Walls Conservation Plan

Gifford Ltd, Engineers and Conservationists based in Chester, England, have been appointed by Galway County Council to undertake the Conservation Plan for the Athenry Town Walls.

The Plan which is being funded by the Heritage Council and County Council will begin in Aug / Sept with a consultation process with landowners / occupiers and the general public. Work should be complete before Christmas with the plan being launched in the early New Year.

This Article was first published in East Galway News and Views, August 2007

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About this record

Written by Peter Feeney

Published here 20 May 2024 and originally published August 2007

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