Business Irish

Saturday 19 January 2019

Food plan linked to ex-Anglo director's wife withdrawn

Pat Whelan.
Pat Whelan.

Fearghal O'Connor

A company linked to the wife of former Anglo Irish Bank director Pat Whelan has withdrawn its application for planning permission for a 24-hour fast-food restaurant.

The Sunday Independent reported last week that Marbleside Ltd, of which Whelan's wife Sharon is a director, had applied for permission for a drive-through at the Skerries Point development. Marbleside wrote to Fingal County Council last Tuesday to withdraw the application.

Local opposition emerged on social media to the fast-food outlet at the small neighbourhood centre, adjacent to a primary school and large amounts of new housing.

Pat Whelan, who is not a director of Marbleside, is Anglo's former director of lending and was fined €3,000 last year for failing to keep a proper register of a fraudulent €8m loan to another Anglo director. He was disqualified from serving as a director for five years.

The Skerries Point shopping centre, which was previously in Nama, was bought in 2017 for €3.4m by Massachusetts-based Grand Coast Capital, whose CEO Jeff Carter is also a director of Marbleside. Carter also has a close business relationship with developer Gerry Conlan - one of the so-called Maple 10 investors who bought shares in the bank in 2008 under a deal to slash Sean Quinn's Anglo stake - and the pair are involved in other Irish projects.

Fingal County Council has an objective in its planning guidelines to restrict the opening of new fast-food outlets in close proximity to schools "so as to protect the health and well-being of school-going children". But Marbleside had argued in planning documents that the restriction should not apply because the adjacent school was a primary school rather than a secondary school and therefore it would not be permitted for pupils to leave the school grounds during the school day. The local secondary school was more than 2km away, it said.

Planning permission at the proposed site was granted for a fast-food outlet in 2009 and remains active but does not allow for a drive-through or 24-hour opening.

Sunday Indo Business

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