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The property at 40 Herbert Park, which once belonged to The O’Rahilly, was bulldozed last year. Sam Boal/
The O'Rahilly

Challenge over proposed apartments on site of former home of 1916 leader opens in High Court

The site includes the demolished former home of the 1916 Rising leader Michael Joseph O’Rahilly.

A SOUTH DUBLIN residents group’s bid to overturn a decision to grant planning permission for 105 apartments and ten new aparthotel bedrooms on a site in Ballsbridge has opened before the High Court.

The action is brought by the Pembroke Road Association against An Bord Pleanala’s decision to grant permission to Derryroe Ltd, a company owned by the McSharry and Kennedy families, who own the Herbert Park Hotel, to develop a site at 36, 38 and 40 Herbert Park Road.

The site includes the demolished former home of the 1916 Rising leader Michael Joseph O’Rahilly, known as ‘The O’Rahilly’ the only leader killed while fighting.

The group represented by James Devlin SC, instructed by solicitor Fred Logue, seek an order quashing the decision to grant Derryroe planning permission.

The proceedings are against the Board, who oppose the group’s action. Derryroe and Dublin City Council as notice parties to the proceedings.

The case is before Mr Justice Alexander Owens, and is expected to last two days.

The case was included in the High Court’s strategic infrastructure list, which deals with developments designated strategic housing, entitling them to seek a fast-track permission directly from the Board.

In its judicial review proceedings, the residents group claims the decision is flawed because the Board was obliged, under the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Directive, to take into account sites of cultural significance, such as the O’Rahilly house, in conducting its screening assessment for the EIA.

The residents claim that there is no evidence it did so. Prior to the demolition of 40 Herbert Park the residents claim the site was of significant resonance in Irish history.

It was constructed after the 1907 Exhibition and featured in the formation of the Irish Volunteers and the planning of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Other grounds of their action include that the proposed development does not meet the minimum criteria for open space as identified in the current Dublin City Development Plan.

It is also claimed the Board erred in how it permitted a material contravention of building height limits in relation to the development.

The 45 metre height of that is some 29 metres above the permitted 16 metre height for the area.

The residents also claim the developer did not engage in mandatory pre-application consultation as required under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016.

They claim the permission was obtained by Derryroe Ltd but a different company, Lordglen Ltd, participated in the pre-consultation process.

The 2016 Act does not permit an applicant who has not gone through the mandatory pre-consultation procedure to apply to the Board for permission, they claim.

They further allege the pre-consultation procedures under the 2016 Act are inconsistent with Article 6.4 of the Environmental Impact Directive because they amount to a “closed process” between the applicant, the Board and the local authority which decides “highly significant” elements of a proposed development.

The process means public participation occurs only after the developer has met with the local authority and the Board and after the Board has formed a view as to the elements for which further information is required.

The hearing continues.

Aodhan O Faolain