The stringent enforcement of planning rules and regulations is preventing development of tourism on the River Shannon.
Speaking at a special meeting of Clare County Council, Killaloe Cllr Tony O’Brien called on the local authority not to be so rigid when following guidelines and rules when it comes to planning and development.
O’Brien’s comments came during the discussion of the Draft Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023 which was the reason for the scheduling of the meeting. The Fianna Fáil Cllr welcomed many of the proposals and submissions in the Killaloe Municipal District but was critical of the manner in which rules were being applied.
“There wouldn’t be a hotel built in the West Coast the way we’re applying these rules” he stated. He gave the strong view that East Clare was being precluded from developing tourism while pointing to the River Shannon and its resources as a possible big attraction in the area. Tony maintained that the River must be protected but added that it was becoming almost impossible to do anything in developing the River and its environs to boost East Clare.
Independent Cllr Michael Begley backed O’Brien as he said directives make it impossible to work around the river or lake. He feels the directives need to be examined in detail “to allow the spirit of both sides to be accommodated within those areas of directives”.
After the meeting had concluded, Cllr Tony O’Brien told The Clare Herald that the rigorous implementing of rules are affecting the growth of the area.
“All the general classifications like the special areas of conservation and so forth are there for a reason and a very good reason but I think they’re being enforced very very rigourously, they’re being enforced really down to the core and there doesn’t seem to be any discussion around how we can encourage development”.
He continued “The River Shannon is the greatest natural resource we have in East Clare, it’s there to be used and to be enjoyed and to bring people into the area and I think we have to find a way of encouraging, it’s a balancing act we need these classifications for the protection of what we have but we also need to find a way of encouraging people to develop and invest in East Clare and that was the point I was trying to make”.
In order for East Clare to build on its tourism reputation, Tony emphasises the need to question the directives the Council receive for the benefit of the area. “I was making the point in what I said at the Council meeting that we’re taking these carte blanche when they come over from Brussels or wherever they come from down from the Department or whatever and I think we should really challenge them and ask questions around them and see is there ways that we can work hand in hand as I said they’re quiet necessary the designations for special areas of conservation and all that are quiet necessary for the protection of what we have but we must also find a way that we can work within those to encourage people to invest and bring more people and tourism and develop our economy in East Clare”.