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Cork rugby club loses battle in four-year planning war with McDonald's over boundary wall

Dolphin RFC has been involved in a bitter dispute with a neighbouring McDonald’s.

Screenshot 2018-07-02 at 00.24.28 McDonald's Ballyphehane, with Irish Independent Park in the background

A CO CORK rugby club has lost an appeal against its neighbouring McDonald’s restaurant over the building, and retention, of a boundary wall between the two properties.

Planning body An Bord Pleanála dismissed the appeal lodged by the club last September, stating in its decision that “the development for which retention is sought… would not seriously injure the amenities of the area and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.

That appeal related to the most recent planning application by the fast food restaurant – seeking to retain the wall and fence which had already been built, and to build a second fence, together with “new planting and landscaping treatments along the western site boundary and all associated works to facilitate same”


Ballyphehane-based Dolphin RFC, first founded in 1902, had cautiously acceded to the fast food retailer’s initial plans to construct a three-metre-high wall on its western boundary with the club’s Musgrave Park (now Irish Independent Park) home, first announced in 2014.

To that end, Dolphin agreed in March 2014 that Munster Rugby, the club’s parent body and landlord for its grounds, should be the chief liaison with McDonald’s regarding the proposed wall-build. Munster Rugby was also the entity which sold the McDonald’s site to the fast food franchise in the first place.

Screenshot 2018-07-02 at 00.23.50 The rugby club, visible to the rear of the McDonald's drive-thru Source: Google Maps

Munster then informed Dolphin that it would be stumping up half the cost of the proposed wall.

McDonald’s subsequently constructed, in December 2014, a low-lying brick wall with a 2.4 metre ‘paladin’ fence on top of it, between the two properties, with a five-metre slope to be inserted on Dolphin’s side between the fence and the club pitch.

Dolphin insisted that both the fence and the slope ran contrary to the planning permission first granted by Cork City Council for the initial concrete wall.


Munster subsequently told Dolphin that the wall itself as initially envisioned would not be built as proposed as the cost, estimated at €200,000, would be prohibitive, something the club vehemently disagreed with.

Dolphin’s complaints appear to have been on two fronts in the main – that the wall and fence that was eventually constructed left the club ‘exposed’, and that privacy from the general public was being denied, and secondly, that the McDonald’s development was seriously curtailing the space available for the club’s pitch.

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Screenshot 2018-07-02 at 00.30.27 The wall / fence which caused it all, pictured in May 2017 Source: Cork City Council/An Bord Pleanála

In April 2015, Munster informed Dolphin that it had always been its intention that a low-lying wall with fencing be constructed.

In its appeal to An Bord Pleanála over the latest planning application, Dolphin outlined the dissatisfaction it had expressed towards Cork City Council over how it had conducted itself regarding the initial wall construction:

“We placed our confidence in your planning system, and to date your planning system has let us down.”

Such sentiments may have been exacerbated by this latest appeal refusal.

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