By Noel Dundon
Poll topping North Tipperary Deputy, Michael Lowry, has accused the Government of contravening the recommendations of an Independent Commission report into gaming in Ireland which has now led to a very chastening reassessment of the 460 million Euro Tipperary Venue project at Two -Mile Borris.
The news delivered by Justice Minister Alan Shatter last week, was no surprise to the promoter of the Tipperary Venue, Mr Richard Quirke and his backers, as tentative soundings had concluded that the Labour/Fine Gael coalition did not favour the resort type casino in Two-Mile Borris. However, this goes entirely contrary to an Independent report which was presented to the previous Cabinet and which stated that casino resorts are the way forward in the industry, The Tipperary Star has learned.
Locals remain in shock this week at the announcement by Minister Shatter that the proposed casino will not get a license. The Fine Gael Minister expressed his preference for a number of “modest sized” casinos around the country and announced that he hoped to bring a full draft of the legislation to the Government in the spring.
“When the last Government went out of office, it had sought a report from an Independent Commission into this whole area because the feeling was that the legislation was out dated and antiquated. That report came before Cabinet and clearly showed that resort type casinos were the way forward. But this Government has totally ignored this report and has contravened it’s recommendations. I was no longer in a position to influence the decision and it seems that others from this constituency who were, did not think it worthwhile to pursue, despite the obvious benefits to the region. They have claimed not to have been aware of the process, but the dogs in the street knew what was happening. It has been the most talked about project in the history of the county and for public representatives, who could have had an influence, to say that they were not aware of the happenings, shows a breathtaking lack of respect for the people they are supposed to represent,” an angry Deputy Lowry told The Tipperary Star this week.
Despite the setback, there is still a determination on the part of the promoters to pursue the Tipperary Venue project and Deputy Lowry confirmed that the architectural design team have already started work on reassessing, reconfiguring and reappraising the proposal to see what can be achieved under the parameters of the new legislation.
“All is certainly not lost. We are down but we are not out. It will take between six and eight weeks to undergo this process and the promoters have at all times highlighted the fact that there is a lot more to the Tipperary venue than just the casino. Richard Quirke remains very clam and is very committed to the project despite the setback. We have lost nothing in terms of the site – it is still extremely well located, very suitable and is still in place. We have a very comprehensive planning permission received form North Tipperary County Council – and an endorsement from An Bord Pleanala after a very detailed Oral Hearing. And, we have the support of many of the industry leaders across a number of fields and disciplines. We are remaining positive and optimistic,” said Deputy Lowry who also confirmed that site work on the infrastructural footprint of the Tipperary Venue continues this week at Two Mile Borris.
See page 2 for reaction, analysis and further comment on the largest proposal ever to hit County Tipperary.