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Council defers crematorium land sale

A PROPOSAL to sell land at Illaunmanagh to a man who is proposing to develop a crematorium was deferred at Monday’s Clare County Council meeting.
Some years ago Tony McMahon and Sean Hillery proposed developing a crematorium there, which would tap a large potential market, as the only ones in the country are in Cork and Dublin.
Now Jim Cranwell is looking to extend the period of planning permission for the development and is seeking to buy the lands in question from Clare County Council.
The disposal of the land was due to be considered at Monday’s County Council meeting but was deferred.
In a report prepared in advance of the meeting, Michael McNamara of Clare County Council stated; “It is proposed to dispose of lands measuring 1.29 acres approximately at Illaunmanagh, Shannon to Jim Cranwell, Doonagore, Doolin, who proposes providing a crematorium on the lands. Planning permission was granted for a crematorium on the lands by An Bord Pleanála on appeal in March 2009. Mr Cranwell has now applied to extend the appropriate period of this planning decision and a decision is due on this application for extension later in November 2013.
“The disposal of the lands to Mr Cranwell will be on the same terms as previously agreed with the original applicants and are as follows;
*Purchase price to be €140,000 with the purchaser also being responsible for the legal costs of transfer.
· Permission to extend the appropriate period being granted by the Council.
· Crematorium and associated development to be completed on site within an agreed time scale.”
As it turned out the proposal to dispose of the lands was deferred at the Council meeting.
Shannon-based Councillor Gerry Flynn said that a solicitors letter had been sent to Clare County Council on the matter and a copy had also been sent to him.
Describing it, he said; “There were two parts to it. One part said that the Council didn’t follow due process and that it wasn’t a transparent process. It said that the public, including the client on whose behalf the letter was written, didn’t get an opportunity to bid for the land. And it would be normal practice for public lands to be put out for tender or up for auction.
“The other part dealt with the process of the Council extending the planning permission. It said that the person the council were wishing to sell it to wasn’t involved in the original planning permission and that he didn’t have sufficient interest to apply for an extension.”
While he has objected to the development of a crematorium at the site, he said that he is not against cremation. “People have this notion that I was against cremation but that wasn’t the argument at all, never was. If we had suitable land, suitably zoned I’d be the first to give my blessing but that was never the case.”
He also said that a crematorium would be a business rather than something for the community. “You can’t just decide to facilitate the sale of a property to somebody, especially for a commercial development. People have this notion that a crematorium is a community facility but it’s a business.”


About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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