Fine Gael candidate withdrew planning appeal after signing agreement for work worth €100,000

Fine Gael local election candidate Marian Agrios withdrew a planning appeal after signing an agreement for more than €100,000 worth of work to her house.

The Ditch reported yesterday that Agrios got a separate €30,000 package from a second developer in exchange for withdrawing another planning objection.

Agrios announced this morning that “following a report published online yesterday, (she would) not be contesting the 2024 local elections”.

Withdrew appeal three days after signing agreement

Property developer Cheverdale Limited applied to Louth County Council in October 2016 for permission to build 51 new homes on a former ghost estate site in Balfeddock, county Louth.

Fine Gael’s Marian Agrios and her husband Demetrios, who live beside the now-completed housing estate, lodged an objection to the development in November 2016.

The Agrioses cited concerns over alleged non-compliance with a previous grant of permission and road safety issues. The development however got the go-ahead by council planners in June 2017. 

On 29 June, 2017 Agrios and her husband appealed the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála (ABP).

This meant the development couldn't proceed until the state planning body had ruled on the appeal.

Within 24 hours of lodging her appeal, Agrios signed an agreement with Cheverdale, which would see her get €103,510 (plus VAT) worth of work carried out on her house free of charge in exchange for withdrawing her objection. 

The bulk of the agreed work involved the developer building a new high-spec stone boundary wall around her detached property, according to the agreement dated 30 June, 2017.

Agrios withdrew her appeal three days later.

Chevedale later sold the ready-to-develop site to another developer, Wakeward Limited. 

The Ditch reported yesterday that Agrios sought money from Wakeward after she objected to its application for permission to build an additional six homes on the site.

Wakeward was forced to enter a separate agreement with Agrios in 2020, which saw it pay €15,000 and install a new sandstone patio on the Fine Gael woman’s property. 

Agrios didn’t appeal to ABP the council’s decision to grant permission for the six additional units.

Wakeward recently completed the last of its 83 homes on the site now named Balfeddock Manor.

Agrios announced earlier today she won’t be seeking a seat for the Drogheda Rural local election area at next week’s vote.

“Following a report published online yesterday, I wish to announce I will not be contesting the 2024 local elections. What occurred was wrong and I am extremely sorry for it. It should not have happened,” said Agrios in a post published on her Facebook account this morning.

“While my name remains on the ballot paper, I now ask that voters do not consider me for election. Once again, I apologise for what happened. It should not have occurred. I will not be making any further comment on this issue,” she added.

Agrios has been contacted for comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors