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Fr Tom Ryan

Crematorium plans back on table at Shannon

THE prospect of a crematorium being built in Shannon is back on the agenda again, after a number of years of silence on the issue.

Some years ago, former Clare county councillors Tony McMahon and the late Sean Hillery proposed the development of a crematorium at Illaunmanagh.

Nothing has been heard about it for some time but at the very end of this week’s meeting of Shannon electoral area councillors, town manager Bernadette
Kinsella said while the original parties are not involved, another party is now interested in proceeding and it will be proposed that the lands in question be disposed of. Ms Kinsella also said the third party is in the process of applying for an extension of planning permission.

Attending the meeting, Councillor Gerry Flynn, who had opposed the development, restated his opposition to it.
After originally getting the green light from Clare county planners, the decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanála and in 2009 it granted permission, going against the advice of its own inspector.

In his report on the proposal, inspector Conor McGrath recommended that permission not be granted for a number of reasons.

“I consider the open-space zoning and landscape policies of the development plan relating to this area to be reasonable. Development of the nature proposed would be contrary to these policies and the juxtaposition with the adjoining cemetery would not, in my view, overcome objections, which might otherwise arise to this development.

“The development of the site in the manner proposed would also be inappropriate on the basis of the cramped form and layout, having regard to the nature of the use proposed and the remoteness of the proposed parking provision. I do not consider that the development would provide an appropriate setting for a use of the nature proposed.

“In accordance with the requirements of the development plan, I consider that the drainage and flooding implications of the development should be addressed prior to any decision to grant permission on the site.”

However, when it issued its final decision, the planning body stated it had got new information from the applicants.

“In deciding not to accept the inspector’s recommendation to refuse permission, the board had regard to the location of the crematorium in proximity to a graveyard and public car parking and noted the further submission received from the applicant with regard to a flood risk assessment, stormwater details and existing sea defences and the option to connect to the public sewer. The board noted the necessary works to the public road and the applicant’s stated willingness to contribute to these improvements.”

It is being proposed that the land will now be disposed of at the same price as was originally envisaged.

On Tuesday, parish priest Fr Tom Ryan said he would be very pleased if the development does go ahead because cremation is increasingly popular.

“I would welcome it because it’d be a great facility for the town of Shannon, for the people of Clare and the Mid-West in general. There is an increase in the number of people opting for it and if it can be facilitated, it’d be good. At present, people have to travel to Cork or Dublin and it would cut out the distance. Cremation is quite acceptable in the Catholic tradition,” he said.

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