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*Joe Floyd at O’Reilly Park in Tulla with the Doonaun development in the background. Photograph: Gary Collins

A lifelong Tulla resident has hit out at the manner in which plans for a social housing development in the East Clare town have been put in place.

Approval was given to a Part 8 planning application in April of last year for the construction of a 25 unit development in Doonaun in Tulla. The plans were backed by elected members of the Killaloe Municipal District except Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) who opposed on the grounds of water and sewerage concerns.

Seventeen local objections including a petition signed by forty five residents were among the submissions received last year. As a result of this, the provision of a walkway from the development to O’Reilly Park was removed from the plans.

County Councils use a Part 8 planning application when applying for planning permission for developments such as social housing or a Strategic Development Zone. Following public consultation, a report from the Chief Executive of the local authority is presented to members of the Council, this contains a list of people or bodies who made submissions, a summary of the issues raised and the chief executive’s response, it also recommends whether the proposed development should proceed or not. Elected members make the final decision within six weeks of the report.

A spokesperson for Clare County Council told The Clare Echo that they were “satisfied” all procedures with respect to the development were carried out in accordance with the Planning Act and Regulations. “Whilst there is no appeal process to Part 8’s, the development in this instance did not require an NIS (Natura Impact Statement) or EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), and thus did not require an application to An Bord Pleanála. As such the Part 8 process was considered the most appropriate and in fact the only such process, available to the Local Authority to proceed with this type of development”.

Joe Floyd has lived in O’Reilly Park on Lower Main St in Tulla for the past thirty eight and a half years. He is of the view that the Part 8 process deprives people of having a say and cannot comply with the Constitution if it hinders persons that do not have the money to make appeal the plans. “It gave an organisation planning permission with only half of what they were doing on the plans. They then seem to be able to proceed and do whatever they like or add whatever they want, do it and tell the people after”.

“Incomplete drawings” were presented at the second public consultation meeting while the first was cancelled, the sixty five year old claimed. “At no stage was any of the pipelines that are put in ever in the original plan, there was no permission given to break into the culvert and keep digging to find where the flood was coming from, it looks like they have it found now and will be able to get rid of it and to hell with everyone else”.

Screens and fencing were erected in front of the development on Friday morning to reduce visibility prior to The Clare Echo’s arrival. He questioned the need to place an ESB box for the Doonaun houses in O’Reilly Park and cited his concerns relating to the sewerage.

Residents of O’Reilly Park are “being treated very poorly,” Joe felt. He said no sewerage plans were presented via public consultation and it is now intended to pump this into their estate. “We might as well be living in Moyross or O’Malley Park, we’re treated like dirt. If we lived in what are called the posher estates there isn’t a way in the world that they would do this. We are the owners of the houses and are actually a private estate, all things associated with the estate bar the sweeper of a Thursday morning we do ourselves, we bought our own lawnmowers, we have our own strimmers”.

A local election candidate in 2019 where he polled 531 first preference votes, Joe insisted he was not opposed to social housing, having previously lived in a Council house until purchasing it off the local authority.

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