Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe lied about his homeownership and living circumstances when making a successful planning application – submitted using the Irish version of his name – for what would be his third home.
Crowe didn’t declare he already owns a property in rural Clare when he sought to build another house less than three kilometres away.
Planning applicants in Clare need to demonstrate they have a local rural housing need. This is defined in the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023 as “someone who does not or has not ever owned a house in the surrounding rural area (except in exceptional circumstances) and has the need for a dwelling for their own permanent occupation”.
In Crowe’s successful application, the council planner noted the Clare TD “does not have a home in the local rural area”. The decision has since been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
Crowe also falsely claimed to have lived in the locality up until 2012 despite having moved to Westbury, near Limerick city, in 2007.
As Gaeilge, le do thoil
Using the name C. MacConcradha, Crowe last year applied for permission to build a four-bedroom house in Heathmount, Meelick, county Clare.
Crowe in his application declared ownership of an urban house in Clonard, Westbury, county Clare, where he has resided since 2007.
He failed however to disclose he owns another house in rural Meelick, near where he proposed to build his third property. Land Registry records confirm Crowe has owned this house since 2018.
“Cathal does not have a house in the local rural area and therefore has a local rural housing need,” wrote planning consultant Andrew Hersey in a June 2022 report submitted with the application on Crowe’s behalf.
When asked on the planning form to list all previous places of residence, Crowe stated he had lived in Healthmount, Meelick from his birth in 1982 until October 2012 and in Clonard, Westbury thereafter.
This isn’t correct.
Crowe hasn’t lived in Meelick since he bought his Westbury property in 2007.
Crowe received permission for his third home in September 2022. The decision was appealed by a third party and a ruling is expected from An Bord Pleanála in the coming weeks.
Crowe declined to comment.