Cllr Séamie Morris has called into question the Cormack Drive public consultation process.

Dáil to hear of housing standoff

The ongoing standoff between Tipperary Co Council and local residents over a plan to build 12 social houses in Nenagh is to be raised at Dáil Éireann.

The move comes as a local councillor claims that the plan to develop the houses in Cormack Drive - as well as a similar plan in Portroe - raises a question over Part 8 planning processes across Tipperary. It also follows the residents’ commencement of legal action to support their view that the council is bound by an agreement made in 1984 that no more social houses should be built in the estate. The council is understood to have also sought legal advice and intends to proceed with development next week.

Having met with residents of Cormack Drive and neighbouring St Conlon's Road, Clonmel-based TD Mattie McGrath said he would be bringing the matter to Government attention. “I salute those residents, many of whom are elderly,” Deputy McGrath said last week.

“I found them all to be honest, honourable people, and they have the support of three former Urban District Council chairmen and one executive official, who have referred to this agreement. They feel that the agreement was made in the spirit of good faith and the council has totally trampled on it. The council are behaving with a cavalier attitude.”

Deputy McGrath supported the residents’ view that the Part 8 public consultation report on the new houses is “flawed” in that people who made submissions were not informed of the council's decision, and that some information was omitted from the process. He said the residents’ concerns are “not a case of ‘not in my back yard’,” as there are alternative options for building council houses in Nenagh.

“I support the residents four-square,” the independent TD said. “I will be taking this matter up with Darragh O'Brien, the Minister for Housing, and I will raise it on the floor of the Dáil



Meanwhile, Cathaoirleach of Nenagh Municipal District Cllr Séamie Morris has called into question the Cormack Drive public consultation process. In correspondence with the council's Housing section, Cllr Morris claimed the council had in particular failed to notify people who made submissions on the plan within the required timeframe of six weeks.

“Because of this, I am asking the council to scrap the part 8 process,” Cllr Morris said. “I have also spoken to people in Portroe who have made submissions and have not received written notification within the six-week deadline.” He claimed this must also raise a doubt over the council's plan to build 14 houses in Portroe village. “It also calls into question all other part 8 processes in the county recently.”

Cllr Morris also questioned whether planning should have been granted for new houses in Nenagh given the town's “already overloaded” wastewater treatment plant.

Michael Ryan, Chairman of the Cormack Drive Residents Association, said a meeting was held last Thursday at which residents unanimously agreed that legal action should be taken to fight their case. He said he informed the council that the residents are not interested in any compromise arrangement and do not want any more houses built in the estate.

“The residents feel that a legal agreement did exist and the council is not playing ball,” Mr Ryan said. “People here are convinced that there was an agreement and it should be honoured.”

He said a document confirming the agreement was posted from the old Nenagh Urban District Council to the St Conlon's Road Residents Association in 1984. This document was referred to back in 1990 when the council sought to build 13 more houses on the green area at the entrance to Cormack Drive; the houses were subsequently built elsewhere in the estate.



Mr Ryan wanted to know how councillors could now pass a plan for building houses with no environmental report, fire officer's report or Irish Water report evident. He said traffic was a key concern raised by the residents but this does not appear to have been addressed in the Part 8 report.

The council has since been furnished with a solicitor's letter indicating that High Court proceedings would ensue if it seeks to proceed with building the 12 houses.

“This is not the road we wanted to go on,” Mr Ryan said. "But they say they're building the houses, but they'd prefer to do it with the goodwill of the residents. Well, that's not forthcoming because the residents here feel that they have been let down.”

Andrew Fahy of St Conlon's Road said the council “seems to have lost its connection to the people of Nenagh and its responsibility for community development”.

“We would ask the council's senior executive to meet with representatives of the residents of Cormack Drive and St Conlon's Road to discuss this current impasse. If the council is not prepared to engage in proper consultation with local communities, it is not fit for purpose.”