I had a gander at the Galway planning enquiry site* and it would appear from what is there that the land in question had prior conditional planning permission reference no. 03222 granted for a 6 room school back in 2003 long before the actual sale took place. This is different to the more recent application of this year reference 10383 which involved an 8 room school. The 2003 applicant is listed as Ciaran Kitching (who appears to be the Parish Priest for Killimor), and the townload is listed Garrynastillagh as opposed in 2010 when it was the Board of Management Iomair National School, and in Killimor but the GIS places the two applications at the same site.
Which prompts the following questions in my mind, when was the advertising stage that Eamon Gilmore refers to actually done, was before that planning application in 2003 or before the sale in 2006? And who was the owner at the time of the first application, was it Gilmore’s wife or her parents? Was an agreement made in principle prior to 2003 but then revisited (and if so what was the price and why did it fail) before being sold later on at a higher price? Was the sale stalled after planning was granted in order to obtain a higher price later?
The thing about someone else getting planning permission on your land before you sell to them is that if you back out of the sale, there then exists a precedent granting a development of that size and scale on the land. Hence, you could more easily apply for an equivalent sized development, say a two storey apartment development or offices. The granting of Planning permission raises the price of land. So if the first application caused the price to raise was that considered when making that application? It would seem odd for the applicant and hence the one forking over the cash to act in a manner that would cost them more money. There again it was the state/ taxpayer that appears to be on the hook for the purchase price so did anyone involved really care?
The political problem here is that if you’re the beneficiary of a type of behaviour that you then seek to make hay in your career out by criticising then you’re a hypocrite, pure and simple. That is Gilmore’s problem in a nutshell, he is criticising behaviour in the property boom that he and his own have benefited from. In other countries this would considered a major political problem and would demand a full and frank disclosure.
The other problem is whether Eamon Gilmore erred in not declaring this in his members interests, the interwebs were full of those commenting on Ivor Callely’s failures to declare property that was in his wife’s name. Fact is that to the best of my knowledge community property operates as regards what you should declare to SIPO.
* to use the site, you have to use Internet Explorer and also install the ActiveX autodesk plug-in to view the application details, maps etc.