Almost ten years ago a grand design for an interpretative centre at Mullaghmore on the Burren in County Clare was unveiled. Today an Bord Pleanála rejected even a greatly scaled-down development that would have allowed parking for 76 cars, toilets, a shelter for visitors and ranger accommodation. Along the way the issue of greater public access to the Burren has been to the Supreme Court and back - with one landmark ruling forcing the office of public works to apply for planning permission for its developments. An Bord Pleanála rejected the latest proposal because it could damage the fragile ecology and habitats in the core area of the Burren, and bring obtrusive traffic to the remote area.
The Minister for Heritage, Síle de Valera, has said she's disappointed at the decision not to allow a scaled-down visitors' centre to be built. Ms de Valera now intends to press ahead with discussions on finding alternative visitor access to the Burren. The Burren Action Group, which campaigned against the centre, said today's ruling had vindicated the stand they'd taken for the past nine years.