Updated: 17/11/16 : 05:39:31
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Sligo 'honey house' fails to stir any buzz

Special Report

HONEY HOUSE failed to raise a buzz and got shot down in flames in Sligo last summer.

Kieran McDonagh currently has ten hives and has been beekeeping since 2003.

His plan was to have 30 hives within five years and maybe 75 in the longer term.

Each hive has 70,000 bees, Mr McDonagh confirmed in planning documents.

He felt hampered by having no facility for honey extraction, processing or storage -- hence the 'honey house' plan.

But local residents were less than excited about the prospect of a Yeatsian bee-loud glade on their doorsteps.

The long-term prospect of five million bees in a scenic area of Sligo failed to stir any buzz either recently with the national planning appeals authority, Bord Pleanala.

Mr McDonagh had offered Pleanala 23 reasons why he felt his 'honey house' should now get the go-ahead.

The Board's decision was made ten days ago and published online last night, Wednesday.

Sixteen Refusals

In mid September Pleanala's inspector Tom Rabbette visited the 'honey house' site at Breeogue, Knocknahur, five kilometres from Sligo town.

The stated need for the 'honey house' at this site was, said Mr Rabbette: ''Somewhat confusing and contradictory.''

His report noted that the site had sixteen various past refusals for one-off housing by planning authorities in Sligo or in appeals to Bord Pleanala.

Commercial Development

A chink of bright light came when the area engineer recommended in May 2016 that Sligo County Council should grant planning permission. 

But the County Council shot it down at the end of last June, official records confirm.

Reasons given included that the 'honey house' would be sited on the Coolera Peninsula.

This peninsula is ''an internationally important archaeological landscape,'' said Sligo County Council.

Describing it as ''commercial development,'' it was not considered there was a need for it at this location, added the local planning authority. See link.

A petition by 27 local residents from Knocknahur also spoke out strongly against the 'honey house.'

Those residents cited the planning history of the site and remain angry at the demolition of stone wall frontage at the site.

Stone Wall

The stone wall had been in place locally for a century and a half, one group of residents pointed out. 

The prospect of a Yeatsian bee-loud glade -- two million on their doorsteps within five years -- created no buzz of excitement for these residents.

The Irish climate was too damp, too, and they questioned the economic viability of such a project.

Local Shops

Another resident said that none of the honey produced currently was on sale in local shops.

It was suggested, too, to Pleanala that the sewage treatment system ''appears quite similar'' to that for a three bedroomed house.

Link to Inspector's Report: http://www.pleanala.ie/casenum/246970.htm