Mar­let: Labour sen­a­tor a ‘se­rial hous­ing ob­jec­tor’

O’ri­or­dain protest un­der fire, writes Ron­ald Quin­lan

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

DE­VEL­OPER Pat Crean’s Mar­let Prop­erty Group has hit out at Labour Party sen­a­tor Aod­han O’RI­or­dain over his in­volve­ment in lo­cal op­po­si­tion to its plan to de­liver 164 new homes on a site over­look­ing Howth har­bour in Dublin.

While the Baily Court scheme se­cured plan­ning per­mis­sion from An Bord Pleanala in Septem­ber, O’ri­or­dain and the other mem­bers of the newly-formed Howth Vil­lage Ac­tion Group are ac­tively con­sid­er­ing seek­ing leave for a ju­di­cial re­view of the de­ci­sion.

Should the group de­cide to pur­sue that course of ac­tion, it would be the sec­ond time O’ri­or­dain has been in­volved chal­leng­ing a bid by Mar­let to build new homes in his con­stituency.

Ear­lier this year, Mar­let sub­sidiary, Crekav Trad­ing, saw its plans for 104 houses and 432 apart­ments on for­mer play­ing fields of St Paul’s Col­lege be­side St Anne’s Park in Ra­heny over­turned fol­low­ing a ju­di­cial re­view of An Bord Pleanala’s de­ci­sion to ap­prove the scheme.

A spokesman for the com­pany said: “There is a hous­ing cri­sis in Dublin. This Sen­a­tor’s party pub­licly sheds crocodile tears about it.

“This week­end his party con­fer­ence heard fine speeches de­mand­ing ac­tion to en­sure homes are built. Yet lo­cally, Sen­a­tor O’ri­ordáin has be­come a se­rial op­po­nent of at­tempts to ac­tu­ally build much-needed homes.

“He won’t talk to us about what­ever con­cerns he says he has, but is in­tent on whip­ping up op­po­si­tion to hous­ing among the res­i­dents of Howth, as he did in Ra­heny re­cently in re­la­tion to the St Paul’s de­vel­op­ment.”

Sen­a­tor O’ri­or­dain re­jected Mar­let’s claims and said: “When a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion goes in, peo­ple who live around the site are en­ti­tled to be part of the con­ver­sa­tion.

“I don’t think we need to go back to the time when de­vel­op­ers de­cided ex­actly what was built, when it was built, and how it was built. We’ve lived through a lot of dif­fi­cul­ties be­cause of that type of mind­set.”

He also re­jected the sug­ges­tion that he was op­posed to hous­ing be­ing built in his con­stituency, point­ing out that he had sup­ported new de­vel­op­ments in his area, of­ten against the wishes of the lo­cal peo­ple.

He added: “No­body has an is­sue with a de­vel­op­ment on the Baily Court site. I would wel­come it. It’s a derelict site. It’s quite un­sightly. A de­vel­op­ment there of some de­scrip­tion would ben­e­fit the whole vil­lage area.”

O’ri­or­dain added, how­ever, that he and the mem­bers of the Howth Vil­lage Ac­tion Group had con­cerns that the de­vel­op­ment ap­proved by An Bord Pleanala could ex­ac­er­bate the prob­lem of sub­si­dence which the area had ex­pe­ri­enced in the past. “We don’t feel that An Bord Pleanala has prop­erly taken that into ac­count. We are go­ing through the process of chal­leng­ing that de­ci­sion,” he said.

Re­spond­ing to Mar­let’s state­ment that he had re­fused to en­gage with them, he said: “In my ex­pe­ri­ence, there’s noth­ing bind­ing about those con­ver­sa­tions.

“There’s noth­ing that will nec­es­sar­ily be ad­hered to by ei­ther side. If the de­vel­oper is happy that ev­ery­thing is okay with the de­vel­op­ment, then he should be happy to see the plan­ning process reach its nat­u­ral con­clu­sion.”

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