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LOCAL historian and author Donal O Riain and his wife, Alice, who have lived for almost 50 years in Parteen, only discovered at a recent public information meeting that four lanes of phase two of the Northern Distributor Road are set to go through their four-bedroom home, Tuairín na Molt at Ballykeelaun.
While aware they could be living near the new motorway, which will split Parteen village in two, the couple insist Clare County Council provided no prior warning or indication it would result in the loss of their home, before they attended the consultation meeting in the Radisson Hotel in Limerick.
Their distress about losing their home coincides with a warning from Clare Deputy Timmy Dooley about the “limbo” facing at least 25 farmers and three householders facing the prospect of losing their homes, and other landowners losing parts of the curtilage of their properties.
Once the preferred route is earmarked for individual land and properties, Dooley warned it would present major restrictions on proposed future developments and could effectively sterilize properties.
If a farm is split in two, Dooley pointed out, the farmer will not be able to plan for the future or consider handing it over to a family member because of the uncertainty surrounding the possible purchase of the land, and if the Government will be able to secure enough money to build this motorway.
“A landowner will not be able to sell this land on the open market because it will be ‘worthless’ pending a funding decision on the road, which could take over 10 years. Landowners will be left with an impending loss hanging over them,” Dooley said.
“It would be far better if the Government could make an offer to buy a person’s land within two years of route selection, which would at least give people the opportunity to buy land elsewhere, if they wished, and move on.”
Ó Riain said no money would compensate them for losing their family home, which he built through direct labor with the help of family and friends back in 1964.
“I am not interested in compensation. I want to remain in my home and hopefully this road will never happen. We have spent a lot of money renovating this house in recent years and had no plans to move for the rest of our lives,” he said.
“This house has a lot of happy memories for us having raised five children. It is still very much a family home, as our children and grandchildren visit regularly, particularly during the summer time,” he said.
“When I built this house, I never expected in my wildest dreams four lanes of a road would go through it almost 50 years later,” he said.
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The mother of one has been out of work for several months, having suffered her third stroke in July.
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