Friday 2 December 2016

Slot-machine tycoon Quirke pushes ahead with €480m Tipperary 'Las Vegas' development

Published 03/05/2015 | 02:30

Richard Quirke
Richard Quirke

Richard Quirke, the former Garda turned slot-machine tycoon, has being buying up land near Two Mile Borris in Tipperary as he pushes ahead with plans to get his proposed €480m mini-Las Vegas casino and leisure plan off the ground.

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Quirke owns Doctor Quirkey's Good Time Emporium on Dublin's O'Connell Street, as well as a slot machine and pool table empire. He also has extensive property interests.

"The company is continuing to purchase lands and properties in order to develop a casino and leisure complex in county Tipperary," according to filings from his highly profitable gambling operator.

These purchases are listed under the category of "events since year end" in the documents, which were signed off by Quirke on March 18. He did not comment.

Quirke's ambitious super casino plan was first launched in 2009. The scheme, which would have created a mini- Las Vegas near Thurles, was to feature a replica of the White House, a National Hunt racecourse, a 7,000 seat greyhound track, a five-star hotel, a heliport, chapel and a 15,000-seater concert venue.

Last year Quirke's companies spent €602,000 buying "properties", according to the documents. It is understood that the purchases were for the remaining land needed for the development footprint, which is set to top 800 acres.

The proposal was championed by controversial Tipperary TD Michael Lowry, in whose political stronghold it was based. Quirke needed to raise hundreds of millions to build the scheme, with Lowry at the time suggesting the casino wouldn't "be relying on the banking sector for investment."

The scheme, promoted by Quirke's Baycross Developments, received planning permission in November 2010 before being approved by An Bord Pleanala in June 2012. However the government blocked the plans by limiting the size of casinos and gambling operations.

It didn't receive a licence for its planned casino. Quirke's plan was designed to help boost the number of high- roller tourists to the region.

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