Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pres & Glasthule residents done by Dunne?

As a past pupil of Presentation College , Glasthule, I would like to express my concern and disappointment about the sale of the former Pres sports grounds on Hudson Rd to Ben Dunne, who proposes to build a fitness centre there.

It’s not that I have any particular objection to fitness centres, but anyone who has seen Mr Dunne recently could hardly argue that he is one of his own best customers. I have little doubt that, in the foreseeable future, this site will be put to a more financially productive, and probably less acceptable, commercial use.

In October last we spent a few days in the Abbeyglen Hotel in Clifden. The afternoon of our last full day there, a banner was hung above the main entrance – something to do with a Ben Dunne Gym in Clifden. On a spin in the car out to the Connemara Golf Club in Ballyconneely, we noticed a helicopter parked – with GYM-H stencilled on the tail. Then we saw Ben Dunne playing golf, a large, overly rotund figure getting out of a golf-cart and hitting a fairway wood.

Later that evening his helicopter did indeed land outside our hotel. As we had my elderly mother in tow, we didn’t stay late in the bar. The following morning at breakfast, who appeared but the bould Ben. He loaded a plate with fried food and regaled other diners with a story of his 3am session in the bar and a monumental hangover. Then he insisted on having Flora, rather than the standard butter on offer, for his "lashings of hot toast". He announced that his doctor had told him to cut out the drink and the butter, and "one out of two wasn’t bad".

I don’t know what age Ben is, but he’s unlikely to enjoy a ripe old age, the way he’s looking/going. Anyone assuming that he, or his proposed fitness centre, will be around in 10 years time is fooling themselves.

The only question about the long-term use of those playing fields is this: will it be LIDL or Aldi?

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