Category Archives: News

Council votes to hand over Brewery Site to a joint management structure with the NTMA for commercial gain and commercial return.

Monday April 18th 2016

On Monday the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael dominated Council voted through a resolution that effectively removed any public ownership of viable development sites within a key brownfield site (the brewery site). The resolution as adopted will hand over our interest in development ‘blocks’ to a joint management structure with the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) for commercial gain and commercial return. The potential impact on the town centre of Kilkenny is incomprehensible, but equally important is the damage to the integrity of public participation in decision making and trust in the Council to take cognisence of such processes.

This was followed later in the day by a packed public meeting in the Home Rule Club, organised by Save Kilkenny, where we heard of the disappointment and anger at the decision.

We also heard of documents obtained under FOI such as this one from Joe Crockett which makes clear their (commercial) objectives for the site :

From: Joe Crockett <Joe.Crockett@ntma.ie> Sent: 09 October 2015 09:31 To: Kieran Culhane Cc: ‘martin.prendiville@kilkennycoco.ie’; Frank Dowling; ‘colette.byrne@kilkennycoco.ie’

Subject: FW: CSO – further info Attachments: ISIF_KK_Prop_Dev Statistical Query Form ver2.0.docx

Dear Kieran

Re my email of 7 Oct, I wish to confirm that the project in Kilkenny is fully commercial in its objectives and that it will seek to establish a business, enterprise, education and research campus at the site of the former Smithwicks Brewery and seek build out some 7 site blocks for this purpose over a number of years.

The project does not seek to provide a public service campus, but a commercial business campus. To that extent, as stated previously, the concept incorporates business risk for the parties participating, however these risks will be mitigated with good business practice I hope this is helpful

Best wishes Joe

Yet this public meeting offers some hope for the future. By the size of the attendence, there are indeed many, many people who are gravely concerned about what is happening to Kilkenny. There are many issues still to be addressed, and high among these is the push to have all council meetings streamed live. 

Sign the petition ! Click Here !

We will continue to post more information and videos on these meetings as soon as possible, and will update on the Brewery development as things happen, so stay tuned!

Your Kilkenny Magazine: Unelected officials treated the people with contempt

November 6th 2015

The latest edition of “Your Kilkenny” magazine has been issued and paper copies have been distributed on the streets of our city.

It is hard-hitting and makes for compelling reading. “Unelected officials treated the people with contempt. It can’t happen again” implores the Cover Story.  The cost of the CAS project to date has escalated phenomenally and no answers have been forthcoming from Kilkenny County Council. The same council has strict rules inside its chambers and no recording devices or cameras are allowed.  Save Kilkenny supports the call for more openness and transparecy in local government. Enough of this veil of secrecy.

For those who have not seen/read this issue, it is available below:

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Lies, Deceit and Oblique Bridges

October 16th 2015  : The CAS bridge – A truly ugly creation

Now  that the full monstrosity that is the Kilkenny Central Access Scheme bridge, has been unleashed on us, one particularly ugly  aspect stands out. Why does it cross the Nore at an oblique angle (ie. not at a right angle to the river bank, like all the other bridges in ye faire city?)

casrotary

Above is an image of the CAS bridge as presented by Mr John Mulholland to the Kilkenny Rotary Club 28th July 2014. Note the pronounced bend in the road. Note also the building arrowed yellow. At the time of planning approval, the City of Kilkenny had not yet acquired the former Diageo site and so the CAS was planned to go around this building. Hence the bridge had to cross the Nore at an oblique angle (as if it was n’t bad enough to have a motorway style bridge in the middle of medieval Kilkenny).  Here is what a straight right angle crossing would look like.

casbridge-straight

So where is this precious Diageo building now ? Completely demolished. So now we have a road bridge that bends around nothing but rubble. So would n’t you think when news of the Diageo bequest came to light, that the CAS planners and Council would review the design? Of course the speed at which the CAS phase 1 was rushed through the council in May/June 2014 says enough. With mounting opposition they were afraid of their lives the project would stall.

Deceit

During the course of the planning, Kilkenny County Council have produced many images of a propaganda nature that would make Joseph Goebbels blush. Here is one such image much beloved by the Pro-Cas fraternity:

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Look at that humped bridge go ! Humped bridge ? Surely not the CAS bridge? Look at it in close up:

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Now have a look at what the emerging CAS bridge really looks like :

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Yep. That’s more like it. As flat as a pancake.

The same deceit was passed off when the first images of the meccano bridge emerged (sorry I mean the Lady Desart bridge).

Before (that’s quite a curve):

legobridge1

Reality (much slighter curve) :

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Another image of the emerging CAS bridge.

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And lest we forget what the Peace Park once looked like

PeacePark2

PeacePark-1

Agreement reached on CAS Bridge High Court Case

14th April 2015

Press Release from Mr. Christopher O’Keeffe

Christopher O’Keeffe v Kilkenny County Council: Settlement of High Court Proceedings.

Christopher O’Keeffe welcomes the settlement of High Court Proceedings surrounding the Kilkenny Central Access Scheme Bridge and the Ossory Pedestrian Bridge. The settlement provides confirmation that:
1. Kilkenny County Council will work in compliance with permissions, specifically using long reach machinery from the bank of the river.
2. The nature of this case was in the Public Interest.

On the 14th April, 2015 the High Court Ordered in respect of this case;
“The Defendant shall pay the sum of €50,000 and VAT thereon @ 23% (€11,500), being a total of €61,500 by way of contribution to the costs of the Plaintiff (to include professional fees, outlays or otherwise) within four weeks of the execution of these terms of settlement.”

Christopher O’Keeffe notes that the terms of Settlement make specific reference to the original Panning conditions laid down by An Bord Pleanala and further to section 5 of the submission made by Kilkenny County Council dated the 15th day of December 2014;

“The Defendant continuing to construct the development, the subject of An Bord Pleanala Ref 10.HA0014, in accordance with the modified plans and particulars for the Central Access Scheme for the City of Kilkenny, as submitted to An Bord Pleanala on the 31st day of January 2011 and the mitigation measures (encompassing the environmental commitments) set out in the revised Environmental Impact Statement (January 2011) also submitted on the same date and in further accordance with the submission to An Bord Pleanala by the Defendant dated the 15th day of December 2014, except as may otherwise be required in order to comply with conditions 2 to 4 of the An Bord Pleanala Approval 10HA.0014”;

In agreeing to this settlement Christopher O’Keeffe has acquired the High Court sanctioned undertaking that he sought from the outset, and that forced him to take this action. Kilkenny County Council will now work from the riverbank, using long reach machinery, in order to mitigate environmental damage. In the Order of costs the Court acknowledges the public interest and environmental protective nature of this case.

The settlement negates the need for a lengthy and costly High Court hearing, saving the people of Kilkenny considerable monies, in the event that Kilkenny County Council lost this case in the High Court, particularly where Kilkenny County Council made a choice to force the most expensive form of hearing.

Mr O’Keeffe regrets, that despite his best efforts, it was not possible to establish this method of working, as the accepted one, much earlier in these proceedings, thus avoiding all costs. He further regrets that there is currently no other avenue for citizens to pursue, in situations such as this, other than costly court actions, as there is no Ombudsman or Regulator in place that can deal with such concerns in a timely and cost neutral manner.