Tuesday 12 December 2017

Devastated locals with jobs at stake count losses as gamble fails to pay off

Barry Duggan

A ROYAL flush seems to be headed down the drain for a bewildered Tipperary community. Two-Mile Borris gambled on the Government changing the gaming laws to allow for a Las Vegas-style casino, but Justice Minister Alan Shatter yesterday called their bluff.

Everyone in north Tipperary was devastated last night. Less than an hour after the news broke, Martin Healy (48) -- who manages the 850-acre site for Richard Quirke -- said he was astonished.

"I am both very surprised and taken aback by this," Mr Healy said. "How can he (Alan Shatter) write this off at the stroke of a pen? It is not like Dublin or a big city here. Where can people get jobs?"

In 2005, Mr Healy was one of many who sold land to allow the slot machine tycoon plan for a 500-bedroom hotel, racetrack, golf course, heliport, equestrian centre and replica White House.

"Hopefully, the rest of the development will go ahead. It is not dead in the water yet," Mr Healy added.

In Corcoran's local pub, Sean Hayde (80) -- a former jockey -- had hoped to go racing at the venue. "It doesn't look good for the casino now. People hoped to get jobs from all this -- the building and the rest of it. It's very hard for young people here. They leave school and there is no employment. They head off to Australia. Something is badly needed here," Mr Hayde said.

Married father-of-two John Tully was scathing in his criticism of the government's decision. "A national disgrace -- that is what it is. It could have brought huge employment in to this area.

"The Government are going to shut down the whole of Tipperary. We have lost Erin Foods, we have lost sugar factories. You name it, we lost it," Mr Tully said.

Local shopkeeper Martina Heffernan said her customers were "shocked and disgusted".

"They can't believe it. Everyone was so looking forward to this. Everyone is out of work -- it is unbelievable," Ms Heffernan said.

Irish Independent

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