The Minister for Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen, TD, spoke out about planning and development last week and suggested that there might be an over emphasis on conservation in this country.

He pointed out that he had spoken about this before and his opinions had created some controversy but, nevertheless, he still felt that people should speak out on such matters.

He said that, on the Quay not far from the Tower Hotel, preservation orders had been placed on buildings and similarly so on Michael Street and he would have to query such decisions because, historically, the places might not be as important as some suggested.

Mr Cullen said he wondered where the balance had gone and, sometimes, a minority held an overblown view of society and that did not create a dynamism to move forward and, in fact, often held things back. The Minister said he would like Ireland to change more and not to see the usual conformity of views.

He urged uniqueness in architecture and development pointing out that various cities around the world now had the same multiples and their city centres were also becoming similar.

The Minister said Waterford should have a big dream, be bold in our plans and have the courage to do something unique and individual in terms of architectural buildings. Mr Cullen said he had no problem in describing himself as pro- development and would like to see buildings that were imaginative and different.