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Developers who demolished O'Rahilly House insisted it happened 'in accordance with all applicable laws'

That’s according to correspondence between the developers and Dublin City Council.

The O'Rahilly house set for demolition in August.
The O'Rahilly house set for demolition in August.
Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THE DEVELOPERS WHO knocked down the historic O’Rahilly House insisted the demolition had taken place “in accordance with all applicable laws” and that they had kept Dublin City Council fully briefed on their plans.

In correspondence with Dublin City Council, the developers said they had told the council of the planned demolition on 15 September and that it was “not clear” what conditions in the planning permission had not been complied with.

They also said that a commencement notice had been returned by the council and confirmed “deemed valid” with an instruction only that work should not take place before 29 September – the day the house was knocked down.

The developers also warned that demolition work on the site had not been properly finished and that it was not “best practice” to leave the work unfinished.

In an email to council officials, they wrote: “Your instruction has interrupted work that is part complete only. In our demolition waste management plans, we commit to source separate material on site and arrange for collection and removal of waste by authorised contractors.

“We consider it best practice and sensible to complete the work, but will refrain from doing so pending clarification from you about the precise issues that you believe to require further attention.”

They said that the demolition had taken place “in accordance with all applicable laws” but that the demolition contractor immediately ceased work on the request of the council.

The destruction of the house in Dublin’s Ballsbridge proved highly controversial, as it was the home of Michael Joseph O’Rahilly, the only leader to have been killed during battle in the 1916 Rising.

Dublin city councillors have sought the reconstruction of the house and the council has initiated legal proceedings against Derryroe Ltd under the building control acts.

Correspondence released by Dublin City Council shows how an official emailed the developers on 29 September confirming works should stop at once.

“I spoke on site with [name redacted] who was in charge,” it said, “he has undertaken to cease all works immediately and he and his team have left the site.”

The following morning, a representative of the developers responded to confirm that the demolition contractor had stopped all work, and sought further information.

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An email from the council’s planning enforcement manager said they wanted to make clear that no work should have taken place and that an enforcement notice would be put in place.

In response, the developers said: “It is a matter for your discretion, I appreciate, but [I] ask you to consider whether, in that circumstance, an enforcement notice is in fact necessary or appropriate.”

They said they would be happy to deal with any “outstanding matters” but that it would be “helpful to understand” what conditions in the permission for demolition and site clearance needed further attention.

The council answered to say they felt an enforcement notice was required to ensure that no further works would take place.

“These works should not have been carried out until all ‘prior to commencement’ conditions were complied with which includes sign off approval by Dublin City Council,” said their planning enforcement manager.

Asked about the records, Dublin City Council said they would not comment on an ongoing investigation. The developers of the site did not respond to a request for a statement.

About the author:

Ken Foxe

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