Anger at Ballinskelligs hotel planning decision

Sinead Kelleher

The local community in Ballinskelligs have expressed anger and disappointment at the decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning for a hotel for the area which they said would have provided much-needed employment and a tourism boost for the region which is suffering from depopulation and rural isolation.

In fact, a hotel was one of the plans outlined in the Skellig Coast Tourism development plan. The plan set out the need for tourism infrastructural projects and a hotel for Ballinskelligs would be one such plan.

Chairman of Coiste Forbartha na Sceilge, Dessie Cronin, said that there was 'massive' support for the project.

"The reaction is utter disgust and anger. We heard the bad news last Friday. There was definitely anger. This would have regenerated the area," he said.  Discussions have taken place about holding a public meeting to see what, if anything, could be done, but there are few options open.

Last week An Bord Pleanála refused planning for the planned 45-bedroom and three-suite hotel at Cable O'Leary's in Ballinskelligs. Planning permission had previously been granted by Kerry County Council for the hotel which would see the existing 12-bedroom hotel demolished. A number of conditions were attached to the planning. This decision was appealed by Colm Gleeson and Linda Horgan and Peter O'Sullivan who are named as third party appellants in the Pleanála report.

Other parties are also named as observers. Concerns raised include the sustainability of the hotel, traffic concerns and the visual impact. An Bord Pleanála refused planning stating that the scale of the project would not be in keeping with the area and that  it would not be sustainable all year round and would be against the county development plan and local area plans.