CARRICK GAMING CLUB ON HOLD

Ground floor unit in Carrickmacross proposed for conversion into a private members gaming club Photo: © Michael Fisher

Ground floor unit in Carrickmacross proposed for conversion into a private members gaming club Photo: © Michael Fisher

APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE MEMBERS GAMING CLUB PUT ON HOLD

Michael Fisher

Planners in Monaghan County Council have put on hold an application to open a private members gaming club in a vacant commercial unit off the Main Street in Carrickmacross.

The planning application was received by Monaghan County Council on January 21st. It was submitted by a local architect on behalf of Carrick Gold Mine Ltd. It sought full planning permission for a change of use from an existing ground floor commercial unit to a private members gaming club with external signage, and including all other associated site works. The premises is situated beside the car park at the rear of Carrickmacross Shopping Centre at Drummond Etra, Main Street. At last month’s meeting of the Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District Council, the five members present had expressed their objections to the proposal.

Two people, a man and a woman with an address in Carrickmacross, are described as directors of the registered company that made the application. In a letter to the planners they said that the proposed use of the premises would be for a professionally managed Private Members Gaming Club. It would provide card games like Baccarat and other games like Texas Holdem etc “for groups of dedicated card players”. It would the Club’s intention to have weekly Poker tournaments, some of which would be for local sports teams and associations, according to the letter. The club’s facilities would be open to members only, who must be over eighteen.

A letter sent to the applicants by a planning officer last Friday requested additional information about a number of aspects. It asked them to indicate the proposed opening hours of the proposed gaming club and to submit proposals to demonstrate clearly that the premises can be operated in such a manner that a noise nuisance does not emanate from within the proposed private members gaming club or arise outside in the vicinity of the club. Carrick Gold Mine Ltd has also been asked to submit proposals for external lighting to each elevation of the development and the applicant shall submit revised details indicating a single sign to the front elevation. The applicant must also specify the materials to be used in the proposed sign, which shall not be internally illuminated. The applicants have a timeframe of six months to reply to the Council with the requested information.

THE NORTHERN STANDARD Thursday 19th March Carrickmacross News

PRIVATE GAMING CLUB OPPOSED

Proposed entrance (with planning notice) to a private members gaming club on ground floor of a vacant commercial unit at rear of Carrickmacross shopping centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

Proposed entrance (with planning notice) to a private members gaming club on ground floor of a vacant commercial unit at rear of Carrickmacross shopping centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

Councillors in Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District have united in their opposition to plans for a private members gaming club in Carrickmacross. The proposal was totally unnecessary and unwanted for 99.9% of the local population, according to Councillor Padraig McNally.

Cllr Padraig McNally  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Padraig McNally Photo: © Michael Fisher

Councillor Noel Keelan said they did not want to see any such gambling facilities in Carrick. His Sinn Féin colleague Colm Carthy said he had been contacted by a number of constituents and the proposed club would not be a good thing to have in the locality. Fianna Fáil Councillor PJ O’Hanlon said a lot of parents were concerned for their children regarding the potential dangers of slot machines, which they had never had in the town.

Planning Notice posted on door of the commercial unit on January 16th 2015  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Planning Notice posted on door of the commercial unit on January 16th 2015 Photo: © Michael Fisher

Standing orders were suspended at their meeting on Tuesday in Carrickmacross to allow the five Councillors present to discuss the introduction of bye-laws in the town to prevent the establishment of gambling arcades or any other such gambling facilities. They agreed to write to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to legislate immediately to allow local authorities to adopt bye-laws that would prohibit gambling facilities, including private members clubs.

Cllr Noel Keelan  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Noel Keelan Photo: © Michael Fisher

The District Co-ordinator Cathal Flynn explained that the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act (Part III) which governs gaming had never been adopted for the Carrickmacross town area. This meant that unlike Castleblayney, Carrick had never allowed casinos, slot machines or such like into the town.

The District Council received a letter from a local resident saying that as a business person, mother and grandmother, she had serious reservations on what sort of message such an establishment would be sending out, and registering her strong opposition.

Referring to the planning application submitted last month to Monaghan County Council, the objector said that information on the opening and closing hours of the proposed establishment was extremely vague. She said she would be very concerned about the effect that it would have on the high amount of school-going children and young people in the town.

Ground floor unit proposed for conversion into a private members gaming club Photo: © Michael Fisher

Ground floor unit proposed for conversion into a private members gaming club Photo: © Michael Fisher

The planning application was received by Monaghan County Council on January 21st. It was submitted by a local architect on behalf of Carrick Gold Mine Ltd. It seeks full planning permission for a change of use from an existing ground floor commercial unit to a private members gaming club with external signage, and including all other associated site works. The premises is situated beside the car park at the rear of Carrickmacross Shopping Centre at Drummond Etra, Main Street. A site notice was posted on the door of the unit on January 16th. Two people, a man and a woman with an address in Carrickmacross, are described as directors of the registered company making the application. In a letter to the planners they say that the proposed use of the premises will be for a professionally managed Private Members Gaming Club. It would provide card games like Baccarat and other games like Texas Holdem etc “for groups of dedicated card players”. It is the Club’s intention to have weekly Poker tournaments, some of which will be for local sports teams and associations. The club also intends to host charity events for the above groups from time to time, according to the letter. The club’s facilities would be open to members only, who must be over eighteen. The club does not encourage impulsive walk-ins hence the proposed location “is not on the High St. for that reason”. According to the letter, the Club intends to serve teas/coffee and light refreshments and will not be applying for any form of alcohol licence and “it does not intend to sell intoxicating liquer on the premises”.

Cllr Colm Carthy  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Colm Carthy Photo: © Michael Fisher

Objectors to the plans had until last Tuesday to submit their observations. Seven local people sent in objections. One of them pointed out that there are three secondary schools in Carrickmacross, and claimed that if the proposal is allowed, “it would put a large contingent of impressionable young people in the town at high risk of becoming addicted to gambling”. Another objector expressed concern that the car park area would become a focus for anti-social behaviour.

Northern Standard reporter Michael Fisher examining the planning application 15/13 at Monaghan County Council offices.   Photo: © Rory Geary/Northern Standard

Northern Standard reporter Michael Fisher examining the planning application 15/13 at Monaghan County Council offices. Photo: © Rory Geary/Northern Standard

An investigation of the planning file at Monaghan County Council revealed that the proposed club would have two areas for video machines: six near the front entrance and in Area ‘B’, fourteen video machines in one part and a further ten in another. There would be three “poker tables” and two “pool tables”. There would be a space for a cashier at the back of the room. In a small corner of this space, an area is designated for a “tea/coffee maker”.

Cllr PJ O'Hanlon  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr PJ O’Hanlon Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Aidan Campbell  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Aidan Campbell Photo: © Michael Fisher

A decision on the application is due to be taken by St Patrick’s Day, March 17th. The sixth member of the Municipal District Council, Aidan Campbell of Fine Gael, was not present at the meeting but told the Northern Standard he was fully behind the strong objections of his five colleagues.

Cllr Jackie Crowe, Cathaoirleach Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District Council  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Jackie Crowe, Cathaoirleach Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District Council Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District Council Jackie Crowe also expressed his opposition to the plan.

Carrickmacross News: The Northern Standard p.19 Thursday 26th February 2015  Photos: © Pat Byrne/Rory Geary/Northern Standard/Michael Fisher and may not be reproduced without permission © Michael Fisher MMXV

Carrickmacross News: The Northern Standard p.19 Thursday 26th February 2015 Photos: © Pat Byrne/Rory Geary/Northern Standard/Michael Fisher and may not be reproduced without permission © Michael Fisher MMXV