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*Photograph: Wind Aware Clare. 

Divine intervention would fail to suffice when it comes to planning applications in West Clare, a county councillor has claimed.

A plea to end the “discriminating practice of refusing planning permission to people because of address or geographic location” by amending the present County Development Plan was reiterated by Cllr PJ Kelly (FF) at Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council.

Director of Service, Liam Conneally stressed that “no discriminating practices exist in the Council’s exercise of the planning function and I refuse to accept the insinuation that any such practice is taking place or would even be tolerated”. He stated over 90 percent of developments in Clare are granted permission.

He added, “I wish to confirm that no amendments are being proposed to the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023 (as varied), nor do I envisage that any are necessary at this time”.

Speaking on Monday, Cllr Kelly expressed his disappointment with the response, “benefit denied is discrimination”. He said that one man in Doonbeg was refused planning four times in sixteen years on different points of his land. “We have what are known as scenic routes, people cannot build between between the scenic route or the river or the Atlantic if the case may be”. Kelly stated that discrimination towards applications occurred in Ballynacally and Cahercon.

“The Lord Almighty is lucky he didn’t apply for planning permission at Mount Callan because he would have been told it was visually vulnerable,” the Lissycasey representative quipped.

Improvements and more resources regarding pre-planning are required in Clare where the landscape was described by Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) as “unique”.

Kelly’s proposal was timely in the eyes of Cllr Joe Cooney (FG), “We’re supporting wind farms and wind turbines sometimes 180m high but we can’t support houses because they disrupt scenic views”. Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF), Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) and Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) all backed the motion.

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