Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Under-fire developer built airstrip beside family home without planning permission

Richard Larkin.

The Larkin family, who are behind a bid to eject at least 40 residents from their Tyrrelstown homes, built a private airstrip on their residence without planning permission.

Planning authorities discovered the illegal construction too late to issue proceedings for the removal of the 700m airstrip and hangar.

The private runway was once used for an emergency landing in February 2011, documents from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) have shown, the Herald has revealed.

There were no injuries in the incident, which involved an instructor and trainee pilot getting into difficulty when the engine oil pressure of their aircraft dropped off without warning.

Locals yesterday told the Herald that the landing strip was sometimes used by the Larkins to test high-powered cars and motorbikes.

Brothers Richard (31) and Michael Larkin (34) have come under the spotlight after it emerged that their company sent letters to residents of the Cruise Park estate in Tyrellstown in west Dublin, telling them to vacate their homes.

The goal was to “maximize profits” by selling the houses with vacant possession.

Richard Larkin listed his address with the Company Records Office (CRO) as Dolly’s Grove in Staffordstown, Dunboyne, Co Meath.

He shares the 62-acre estate with his father Eugene Larkin (58), who was also involved in the Tyrellstown project through family-owned development and investment companies.

Meath County Council confirmed that there was no planning application for the runway that lies to the rear of the massive stately Georgian home on the property.

A planning application submitted in 2002 by Mr Larkin Snr referenced a new driveway among other substantial refurbishment works to be undertaken at the estate.

However, it was not until 2012 that planning officers noticed on Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) aerial photography that a runway had been built there. The OSI images dated from 2005.

“Meath County Council investigated the use of the lands in 2012,” a statement said.

“The investigation, at that time, noted the presence of the runway and structures on 2005 OSI aerial photography.

“The development was deemed to be immune from enforcement action, having been in place for seven or more years.”

Three aircraft are placed next to the landing strip, including what appears to be a Hawker Harrier jump.

However, it is understood that the aircraft are not airworthy and are for display purposes only.

Eugene Larkin received a commercial pilot’s license from the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October 2011 and was licensed to fly a rotorcraft helicopter.

He also has a license to fly single-engine aircraft.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said that there was no requirement for an airstrip to be licensed or registered if it was used for private use or general aviation.

The Larkins declined to comment when contacted.

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