No record of Varadkar contacting council on planning matter

No record of Varadkar contacting council on planning matter


Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Clare County Council has said there is no record of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar having contacted the authority regarding a planning application for a windfarm in Doonbeg.

In the United States today, Mr Varadkar claimed he was contacted by Donald Trump when he was planning to purchase a hotel and golf resort in West Clare.

Mr Varadkar, who was Minister for Tourism and Sport at the time, said Mr Trump rang him and raised concerns about a windfarm for which planning had been sought.

Speaking at the Friends of Ireland lunch today, Mr Varadkar said: “At the other end of the phone was Donald Trump saying to me that he bought this resort in Ireland, in Co Clare, this beautiful golf resort called Doonbeg but there was a problem. Someone nearby was trying build a windfarm and this could have a real impact on tourism and the beauty of the landscape.”

“So, I endeavoured to do what I could do about it and I rang the county council and inquired about the planning permission and subsequently the planning permission was declined and the windfarm was never built, thus the landscape being preserved,” Mr Varadkar said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

“The President has very kindly given me credit for that although I do think it would probably have been refused anyway but I’m very happy to take credit for that if the President is going to offer it to me,” the Taoiseach added.

In a statement this evening however, Clare County Council said: “The Planning Application was received on 15th August 2014. All representations, objections and observations made in relation to this and all other planning applications are available to view on the planning file and the Clare County Council website.”

The statement added: “There is no representation by Leo Varadkar, the then Minister for Tourism and Sport, or any Elected Member on this planning file. The decision on 8th October 2014 by Clare County Council to refuse this planning application was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála. Following consideration of the appeal, An Bord Pleanála upheld the decision by Clare County Council and refused permission for the proposed development.”

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.