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Councillors claim whiskey warehouse refusal will cost €500,000 in lost rates

The relationship between county councillors and planners has soured over the decision to refuse planning permission for a whiskey warehouse outside Ballinasloe.

Ballinasloe area councillors lashed the decision by Galway County Council to refuse planning permission to Easyfix Limited for a single storey warehouse two miles from Ballinasloe. They claimed it would cost the local authority €500,000 in lost commercial rates.

The building was to complement and provide warehousing of whiskey casks for the distillery in Ahascragh, eight miles away.

As reported in the Connacht Tribune earlier in December, planners refused the application because of the distance between the whiskey distillery and proposed warehouse at Persse Business Park in Ballinasloe; and due to ecological and environmental concerns.

At the latest Ballinasloe Municipal District meeting, local representatives criticised the decision.

Councillor Timmy Broderick (Ind) said the owners of the distillery would now have to store the whiskey casks in Waterford.

He said that the new distillery under construction in Ahascragh was a good news story, and it was providing much-needed employment for the village.

Cllr Broderick said he could not understand the rationale for the decision which impacts a whiskey brand that has the potential to become famous around the world.

“We’re going to be a laughing stock,” he said.

He accused planners of “strangling” enterprise and claimed the decision would cost the County Council €500,000 in lost revenue from commercial rates over the next decade.

He said the company had paid €35,000 to prepare the planning application.

Chairperson of the MD, Cllr Evelyn Parsons agreed the decision “makes no sense”, and she said councillors would play their part in changing they County Development Plan in the mid-term review of that document if necessary.

Cllr Declan Geraghty (Ind) said the planning department of the Council, “needs a shake-up”. Cllr Peter Keaveney (FG) said at the very least, planners should have asked for Further Information from the applicant, rather than refusing it.

Director of Services, Liam Hanrahan, warned members that the planning file was still ‘live’.

He said the decision could be appealed to An Bord Pleanála within four weeks of the refusal, and it would be inappropriate to comment on a live application.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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