All is not well in Galway City Council

Guest post: Enda Cunningham is a news journalist with the Connacht Tribune Newspaper Group in Galway, where he has worked on a freelance and full-time basis since 1997. He is also a regular contributor to several national newspapers and radio stations and while he is an ‘all-rounder’, he has particular interests in the areas of planning, property, business and finance. He can be contacted at ‘enda AT ctribune DOT ie’. We have previously covered his work on this site. – Mark

Environment Minister John Gormley might be wasting his time with the remit of his ‘planning review‘ in Galway County Council, when a probe into their counterparts in Galway City Council could throw up some real gems, as I discovered.

There’s a lot of info in this post, so please bear with me.

When it comes to paying Development Contribution Levies, some builders in Galway City have been a bit lazy, and it’s taking the Council up to three years to chase up some of the debts, such was the leeway being given.

In fact, the Council is currently owed around €5.4m in unpaid development levies, €1.3m of this is being chased up through the District Court and High Court, while the rest is the subject of enforcement orders or is being paid by installment.

The single biggest debt relates to the abandoned Crown Square development in Mervue – headed up by Padraic Rhatigan of JJ Rhatigan and Walter King of GK Developments – where almost €2.1m is owed.

I had a lengthy sift through a couple of dozen Galway City Council planning files which turned up some very interesting information on several of the biggest developers in Galway during the boom years, but the real golden nugget that emerged from my investigation that must surely be a real cause of embarrassment for officials – a typo on a planning condition which could cost the Council €468,389.29.

Basically, where the Council should have sought development levies for all 120 residential units in one particular development, they instead specified ‘apartments’ – of which there are only 28. Continue reading “All is not well in Galway City Council”