Three of the six County Councillors representative of the Tramore electoral area are unreservedly in favour of the proposed golf resort project at Garrarus, in respect of which a planning application is currently with the Council.
They are Dan Cowman and Pat Daly (FF) and Ann Marie Power (FG). Lola O’Sullivan (FG) is totally opposed and both Pat O’Callaghan (Lab) and John Carey (FG) are somewhere in between.
This newspaper asked five of the six on Tuesday to state their position – Cllr. Daly, on record as supporting the development, was in the United States.
Both Cllrs. Cowman and Power said the employment arising was badly needed, especially in the current economic climate. Some 150 long term jobs are promised, apart from at least a hundred in the construction phase. And Cllr. Cowman made the point that the five-star hotel which is part of the plan would offer a major conference centre which Tramore lacked.
Cllr. Power said that while she had sympathy for the conservationists opposing the scheme, she believed their concerns would be taken into account by the planning authority. Anyway, Tramore needed a quality tourist product and she was a hundred per cent behind it.
Cllr. O’Sullivan’s opposition for environmental reasons has been well flagged. She has no problem with the golf course but feels a more suitable alternative site could be found in the Tramore area for the overall development.
Cllr. O’Callaghan admits to mixed feelings on the subject. While Tramore needed the jobs and the boost the scheme would give to the local economy, he was concerned about preservation of the environment and that aspect needed due consideration.
Cllr. Carey said he had an open mind. He had no difficulty with the golf course and the area could well do with the tourism boost such a development would generate. But he was opposed to the proposal to build sixty permanent houses on the site.
With 250 objections lodged with the planning authority and a sizeable body of opinion also in support of the project, the issue is clearly something of a hot potato politically.
One way or another the Council’s decision is bound to be referred in due course to An Bord Pleanala and a judicial review may yet follow, which would delay the development for maybe two years or more.