Monday 20 May 2019

TD calls for gaming law revamp to allow €460m casino

Eimear Ni Bhraonain and Conor Kane

INDEPENDENT TD Michael Lowry wants the Government to modernise gaming laws to clear the way for a wealthy businessman to develop a €460m casino and sports venue.

The ambitious project cleared the first hurdle last night after it was granted planning permission.

However, there are other obstacles to overcome, including a change in current gaming legislation, before Richard Quirke's dreams can be realised. The former garda from Co Tipperary, who runs the Dr Quirkey's Good Time Emporium amusement and gaming arcade on Dublin's O'Connell Street, is proposing to build a casino, a turf and all-weather racecourse, a greyhound track, a full-scale replica of the White House, a 500-bedroom five-star hotel, and a golf course.

An international equestrian centre -- which could attract showjumping, eventing, cross-country and dressage activities from around the world -- is also included in the proposal.

Mr Lowry last night insisted to the Irish Independent that the plans for a 900-acre site at Two-Mile-Borris near Thurles were "realistic".

"It's a beacon of light in this country against the backdrop of the massive negativity," he said. Mr Lowry said there was "considerable" interest from overseas investors in Mr Quirke's plans for the site just off the M8 Dublin-Cork motorway.

"Richard Quirke has already invested €40m in this and he will invest €30m for the next stage of development, with the ESB, water mains and sewage.

"This project is not depending on state aid -- it has the support of a man who has financial resources available to him and he's already been in discussion with investors and is happy with the reaction internationally," added Mr Lowry.

"The legislation we have at the moment is archaic, and that's why the Government is reviewing it."

Irish Independent

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