Wednesday 16 October 2019

A farmer who built an aircaft runway in his back garden has finally been taken to task by the Planning Service on another matter, we can reveal.

A farmer who built an aircaft runway in his back garden has finally been taken to task by the Planning Service on another matter, we can reveal.

Dan McCartan appeared at Omagh Magistrates Court last week after planners lost patience with Tyrone's answer to Howard Hughes.

In 2008 the revealed how McCartan had built a runway on land beside his home in Carrickmore before planning permission had been granted.

Eventually planners granted him retrospective permission for the 1000 metre runway at his Whitebridge Road home.

They also let him retain a farm shed which he had converted into an aircraft hangar.

At the time McCartan was the talk of the local area and people wondered what he planned to use his remote country airstrip for.

Discovered

Despite telling the Sunday World back then that the runway was purely for "private use" and would not be used for business purposes McCartan is now running a lucrative flying school from the strip.

But now it has emerged that McCartan, nicknamed 'Taiwan Dan' because of his car parts business, has failed to comply with two Enforcement Notices which were issued by Planning Service.

Those notices - which by law must be complied with - were in respect of two storage areas for end-of-life cars.

Meanwhile the Sunday World has learned McCartan was in court earlier this year after he was convicted of possessing illegal fuel.

The 57-year-old pleaded guilty in March to having thousands of litres of the illegal fuel which had been laundered in an illegal depot in Co. Tyrone.

The plant was seized by HM Revenue and Customs and investigators discovered huge amounts of the petrol was being stored on land owned by McCartan.

McCartan received a four month suspended sentence, and was ordered to pay a whopping £15,000 compensation fee for tax evaded.

McCartan pleaded guilty at Omagh Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, to a charge of fraudulent evasion of duty totalling £15,000 relating to hydrocarbon oils.

The offence is said to have taken place between November 9 and November 27, 2009.

A defence counsel said that it was accepted by the crown that McCartan was not a "major player'' involved in the laundering of fuel.

However, he said the father-of-six had "foolhardedly" taken possession of three loads of oil to sell at a time when he was under a lot of financial pressures.

Guilty

"The difference in price was only a matter of pence per litre," said his defence QC.

"It is a good example of how it is so foolish to become involved in something which has small amounts of money to be gained but which have devastating financial consequences.

"He foolishly gave into temptation in this case. As a result of his guilty plea, he has lost his good name and his reputation."

But McCartan was back before the courts last week after he was accused of refusing to adhere to the Planning Service orders.

During the brief hearing, a defence solicitor asked for the case to be adjourned and McCartan is due before the court again on December 13th.

Despite his claims to the contrary six years ago McCartan was seemingly always planning to start up a flying school.

C-More Flying School has been operating for six years and offers packages for the budding pilot.

According to their Facebook page: "C-More flying school, situated in the heart of scenic Tyrone! We offer pleasure flights in our Microlight aircraft, or for those who are feeling more adventurous we also offer lessons with our fully qualified instructors. You will be made feel welcome in our club house with refreshments, pool table, TV and computer games."

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

Irish Independent

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