"The government should refuse to countenance, or cooperate in any way, with the proposed super casino proposed for Two Mile Borris" stated Malachy Steenson addressing a Workers' Party meeting last night.
"We are acutely aware that
Tipperary, and the entire Mid-West region has suffered severe job losses over the last five years. However, the gambling industry is not the basis for sustainable economic development. The job projections that are being mentioned by the backers of this scheme are wildly optimistic, and even if some jobs do materise they will be low paid sand totally insecure".
"It is our view that North Tipperary County Council and An Bord Pleanála have totally failed to uphold rational and sustainable planning principles. Instead they have succumbed to the sort of gombeenism, and get rich quick schemes, that fuelled the ill-fated Celtic Tiger property bubble. Thankfully the government still has it in its power to scupper this nonsensical scheme. This power of the government merely involves the government sitting on its hands - something in which it has already demonstrated a rare skill. We implore this government not to amend the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956."
"There are a number of factors which we believe compel the government to refuse to cooperate with this casino project. It is well established internationally that large casinos act as a magnet for organised crime. From Las Vagas, to Atlantic City and right across the Pacific Ocean to the Chinese offshore islands this has been proven to be the case. Casinos, and particularly the hotels associated with casinos, have also always acted as a hub for the exploitation of women up to, and including, organised prostitution. It seems incredible to believe that an Irish super casino would somehow be different."
"Furthermore" continued Mr Steenson "we would question both the proposed benefit and indeed the very viability of the add-on facilities, namely the hotel, golf course, racecourse and greyhound track. The books of NAMA are overflowing with luxury hotel and golf resorts. The Hotels Federation claim we have 40% over capacity in the hotel sector. Every race-course in the country is operating on a knife edge and at least one greyhound track is being forced to close. So we query exactly what planet the planners inhabit when they approved this development?"
"Lastly we believe that this decision once again raises serious questions as to the role and competence of An Bord Pleanála. The Workers' Party firmly believes in the concept of an independent Planning Appeals Board firmly and fairly adjudicating on all planning matters brought before it. It is clear from this casino decision, as from many decisions in the past, that the present Board is not fit for purpose and should be changed".
Issued 14th June 2011