Belfast Telegraph

Laws set to scupper casino resort

Plans for a multimillion-euro Las Vegas-style casino appear dead after new laws were announced ruling out large-scale gambling resorts.

The 460 million euro Tipperary venue, near Two-Mile Borris, with a betting and leisure complex complete with horse and greyhound tracks and a chapel, was given the green light by planners in June.

But Taoiseach Enda Kenny said such large-scale gaming venues have been ruled out, saying the Government is concerned about the protection of the young and vulnerable.

"We've made the decision to update and introduce modern gambling legislation," Mr Kenny said. "This will mean the implementation and supervision of a properly controlled small number of gambling casinos. We do not believe there is a need for resort-style casinos in the country and the Cabinet have rejected that."

The idea is being driven by Richard Quirke, owner of the Dr Quirkey's amusement arcade in Dublin's O'Connell Street, and local Independent TD Michael Lowry.

A spokeswoman for the development said Mr Quirke would meet with architect Brian O'Connell and Mr Lowry to discuss options available to them, including dramatically scaling back the project.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the Government has agreed to start work immediately on drawing up the new laws.

Mr Lowry - a former Fine Gael TD - said he was disappointed as the project had the opportunity to create 2,000 jobs for Tipperary. "We always had to entertain the possibility that we wouldn't get a licence," he said. "We were always conscious of that."

The Tipperary North TD said Mr Quirke could now look at the possibility of implementing the various aspects of the plan on a phased basis, instead of building the planned project in one go.

The Tipperary Venue site, 9km from Thurles, was being planned in true Las Vegas style with a church with an 18m-high steeple and a replica of the White House, known as the Hoban Memorial Building in honour of architect James Hoban. The project was also to include a 500-bed hotel - the largest in Ireland - a health spa and swimming pool, an equestrian centre and an 18-hole golf course.

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