The Big Bluff
We are now well advanced with the site in Ardara and the sale of the Bull Field in Carrick frustrated, but for the record . . .
We secured planning in July 2016 from Donegal County Council for the Sliabh Liag Distillery in the Bull Field.
It was appealed to An Bord Pleanála and we won that appeal in January 2017 and quickly moved on with the distillery site preparation, building the entrance road and even sank the wells.
We had done all our due diligence on the title of the land and the ability of the landowner to sell the land to us – title was clean and there was no dispute except in bar talk and no one would imagine the hubris and self-interest of squatters that would be enough to hold us and the parish community of Glencolmcille to ransom through litigation. But litigate they did.
Repeated requests for evidence by us to support their claim were just stalled or responded to with dismissive legal letters in a style and tone that would become familiar to us and others and not just from the parties but from those who should know better.
So to court (repeatedly) it would be. Plenty of opportunism and greed but little credible evidence on display and the findings and final order from the court are clear and unsurprising.
The Bull Field is and always has been the landowners to sell to us, the land should have been vacated when requested and the litigant had no rights to the land whatsoever and has no right to appeal.
I always thought it was little more than a bluff and for a bluff to work it must be played to the end.
Well it has, and now we know.
A bluff that cost Carrick at least 40 jobs.