independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Owner of 'Father Ted' house battles Burren carpark plan

Patrick McCormack's home, which was the parochial house in 'Father Ted'.

THE owner of the parochial house from 'Father Ted' has hit out at fresh plans to construct visitor facilities in the Burren.

Farmer Patrick McCormack lives in the home, which overlooks the Burren National Park in Co Clare, with his wife Cheryl and their children.

Mr McCormack was one of seven plaintiffs of the Burren Action Group (BAG) which made history by stopping government plans to construct a visitor centre at Mullaghmore in the park in the 1990s.

Concerns

BAG opposed plans for visitor facilities for eight years before An Bord Pleanala finally rejected the plan in 2000.

Now the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) wants to build a 27-space carpark on the site of the abandoned visitor centre, a few hundred metres from Mr McCormack's home.

The NPWS said the planned carpark will improve visitor access to the national park.

But Mr McCormack said: "Do they not realise what we went through opposing the visitor centre at Mullaghmore?"

The plan is currently on hold after Clare County Council expressed "serious concerns" over the planning application.

But that has not quelled the anger of some of the residents.

Organic farmer James Howard, who was also in BAG, accused the NPWS of "pure arrogance" in not properly consulting with local people before lodging the application.

Mr Howard said that he was "saddened and surprised" that the application was lodged.

He asked: "Have they not learned anything from the last time? It is re-opening old wounds."

Mr Howard said the decision by the NPWS to lodge the application without a management plan was "crazy".

He said that the NPWS "should stop knocking down bridges and start building bridges instead and sit down with the ordinary people here".

Calling on the NPWS to withdraw the application, Mr Howard said "no rash decisions" should be made.

"The application is poorly thought out and is not going to solve the problem of parking in the Burren National Park," he added.

The NPWS said it was not in a position to comment.

Irish Independent

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