The Cuan na Ri Development at Carrigart.

The Cuan na Ri Development at Carrigart.

Developers and protesters are to meet in a bid to come to an agreement on a controversial beachfront resort at Carrigart.

The developers of the Cuan na Ri Oceanfront Activity Centre and Resort planned for Aghadachor, Carrigart applied for a drinks license at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

However objectors asked Judge Matthew Deery to listen to their side of the story.

Objector Tony McCarry outlined the concerns of the residents which including access to the local beach.

The court was told that there were no objections from the Gardai or the Fire Service to the granting of the license.

The alcohol license was to be extinguished from a premises in Rathdrum in Co Wicklow and transferred to the Co Donegal premises.

However local resident Tony McCarry stood up in the public gallery and asked Judge Matthew Deery if he would listen to the concerns of local people.

Judge Deery agreed and allowed Mr McCarry to outline the issues.

Mr McCarry, who said his home house where he grew up was five hundred metres from the planned oceanfront centre, had caused major problems for locals.

He said people in the area were not against the development but were against the issues which had arisen as a result.

He claimed that access to the beachfront had now been cut-off and that the public were now being asked to pay a levy to access the beach.

He claim that many public rights of ways to the stretch of beach on which the development was being built had now been locked by gates.

He said that many elderly people were now terrified to visit the area because of threats from the developers.

He also revealed that professional golfer Paul McGinley and a consortium had previously owned the land but could not get permission for their planned development.

“How is it that these guys can come in and close the beach down.

“People who live near this beach now have to walk four miles to the next beach. We want gates erected to be removed and we want access to our beach,” he said.

He also claimed that while out walking with his son that a car tried to ram him off the road and that he was also verbally attacked by one of the developers of the site.

Evidence was also given in court by architect John Masterson who said a number of technical issues arose on the development but these had been sorted.

The owner of the property, Michael Anthony Preston, said he acquired the land in 2007 but did not begin developing it until 2012.

He said his company had put in pedestrian access to the area and they had also build a car park.

He said access was open between 8am and 10.30pm via a gate to the beach.

He added that the beach was a special area of conservation which was controlled by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and not the developers adding that “access is quite easy.”

Judge Deery said it appeared that there appeared to be no objections in relation to the alcohol license from the Gardai, the Fire Service or the Planning Authority.

However he said he appreciated there were concerns amongst locals about the access to the beach.

He asked both parties to come together on the matter.

“I would ask Mr Preston to have a word with this man (Mr McCarry) to try and accommodate him,” said Judge Deery.

He then adjourned his decision on the granting of the alcohol license until today (Thurs).

The court was told today that local priest Fr Joseph Chambers had agreed to chair a meeting in the local council offices to try and reach agreement on the issues of concern.

Judge Matthew Deery then granted the drink license but warned residents and objectors to meet over the outstanding issues or it may lead to a legal situation.

 

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