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An Taisce: Council 'wasted €40m' by ignoring development plan

The national trust says Dublin City Council ignored its own development plan in 26 applications which were later overturned.

The redevelopment of Liberty Hall was one example of a project approved by Dublin City Council, but later overturned.
The redevelopment of Liberty Hall was one example of a project approved by Dublin City Council, but later overturned.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

AN TAISCE has claimed that Dublin City Council has ‘wasted’ €40 million in public funds by granting planning permission for developments in Dublin, under terms in contrary to its own development plan.

The body says a total of €30 million was squandered by supporting the planning application for the construction of the National Children’s Hospital at the site of the Mater hospital, which was later overturned by An Bord Pleanála.

An Taisce said approving the hospital plan was a clear breach of the council’s own development plan, which imposed a strict height limit on new projects.

Another €10 million was spent dealing with 25 other cases between 2005 and 2013, including the proposed redevelopments of the Berkeley Court Hotel site in Ballsbridge, and of Liberty Hall in the city centre.

“In spite of a great many attempts at self-justification after the fact, it is not possible for either Dublin City or the Department [of the Environment] to mask the Council’s incorrect interpretation of its own development plan so often,” the report claims.

Its report, which cites evidence given at oral hearings held by An Bord Pleanála, suggests that council officials had collaborated with developers on some proposals to the point where they had actively encouraged a breach of the development plan’s rules on height.

“The reader is entitled to draw the conclusion that substantiation has been provided for Dublin City’s support and encouragement of proposals which were in breach of the Development Plan,” the report says.

An official review of Dublin’s planning procedures commissioned by the government in 2011 found that while there was no evidence of any sort of “systematic corruption”, there was evidence of of matters “ranging from maladministration to inconsistency”.

Read: Planning review finds deficiencies but no evidence of wrongdoing

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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