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Outside the former Magdalene Laundry site. Google Street View

Permission granted for apartment complex on the site of a former Magdalene Laundry

Dublin City Council granted planning permission for 44 apartments.

PLANS BY PEMBROKE Partnership Ltd to construct an apartment block complex on the site of a former Magdalene Laundry in Donnybrook have got the green light.

One of four to operate in Dublin, the Magdalene Laundry on site at the Crescent in Donnybrook Village accommodated between 100 and 120 women at any one time.

In 2017 a previous 25-unit residential plan for the site was withdrawn and the applicants for the revised plan stated that a subsequent archaeological dig at the site uncovered no burials.

Now, Dublin City Council has granted planning permission to the Pembroke Partnership for 44 apartments in three three-to four-storey apartment blocks.

As part of the planning permission, the City Council has ordered that the developers put in place an appropriate memorial to honour the memory of the women who worked in the former Magdalene Laundry in a location that is accessible to members of the public.

The Council planner stated that the developer has made significant efforts to acknowledge the sensitivity of the site and to record its history for posterity 

The planner stated that former residents have been consulted and have engaged with the endeavours to record its history. The planner’s report stated:

These efforts are ongoing and include engagement with the National Museum of Ireland.

The chimney stack on site is a protected structure and is to remain in place and be a prominent feature in the new residential development.

The stack was declared a protected structure in 2012 as a way of honouring the women who were forced to work at the Magdalene laundry.

The site’s use as a Magdalene Laundry ceased in 1992 when the site was sold to a private company which operated a commercial laundry on the site until 2006 and since then the site has been vacant.

Consultants for the developers, Tom Philips &Associates, told the city council that “the proposal has been approached and designed in a manner that is respectful of its past and also to the structures of significance on site”. 

The consultants stated that the plan will make a positive contribution to the area “creating a vibrant, sustainable residential community”.

Submissions lodged

The revisions to the scheme contributed to a comparatively low level of submissions with five lodged with the Council.

In his submission, Dr Brendan Tangney of the Crescent, Donnybrook pointed out that a number of developments are taking place in the village and stated that “it is negligent in the extreme for the Council to allow this very intense spurt of activity to proceed on an ad-hoc development by development basis without having an overall coherent plan”.

He stated that the current and imminent developments will shape Donnybrook village “for generations to come and it is simply unacceptable to have this done on a piecemeal basis”.

Dr Tangney stated that to say that the site is culturally and socially sensitive “is an understatement”.

Paula Murphy of the Crescent, Donnybrook told the Council that the building “has an interesting and particularly poignant history”.

She argued that “it is a tragedy that all that can be considered in this day and age is to demolish the building and use it as a source of making money”.

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