SHE has been a race course regular for a few years now but if her boyfriend’s father gets his way, Rosanna Davison’s time on the turf will have not been in vain.
Slot-machine tycoon Richard Quirke, whose son Wesley has been dating the former Miss World for two years, is said to be planning to build a course on a farm in Co. Tipperary.
He is also said to be planning a casino on the 207-acre Noard House site, outside Two-Mile- Borris, which he bought just over two years ago for €8.2m.
Despite the downturn, he is allegedly keen to snap up properties on land adjoining his. The plan will boost jobs and investment in the area.
The former garda who boosted his fortune from his Dublin gaming arcade, Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium, is said to be developing the racecourse plan as a long-term project.
He is financing it from part of the proceeds of the estimated e30m he made from selling the former one-acre Carlton Cinema site in Dublin.
The accounts for his Dublin pool and juke box firm listed property worth more than e6m and income for himself and wife Ann of just under €3m.
However, Mr Quirke may also be eligible for public funding.
Since the establishment of the Horse And Greyhound Racing Fund in 2001, the Government has committed itself to the development of the horseracing industry.
The 2007 National Development Plan allowed for the provision of e70m to go toward helping finance new racecourses.
When asked about Mr Quirke’s plans, Noard House’s previous owner, Richard O’Connell, said he would ‘prefer not to discuss it’.
A neighbour, Jimmy Moriarty, said: ‘I haven’t been asked but I wouldn’t move, even if he offered me e2m, because this is my home and has been since 1955.
‘If he built a 10ft wall around my property to keep horses off it, I wouldn’t object to him applying to have a racecourse on his land.’
John Cantwell, another neighbour, said: ‘If he did offer, I would consider it and maybe retire to the village but this is my homeland, so I would have to think about it.’