Housing Minister lobbied by developers for approval for Dublin high-rise buildings

Housing Minister lobbied by developers for approval for Dublin high-rise buildings

Developers lobbied ministers to get approval for high-rise buildings in Dublin city, including attempts to overcome “red tape” in obtaining planning with authorities.

In one letter to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy in January, developer Johnny Ronan complained about “restrictive height limits” on buildings in the Dublin Docklands area.

The lobbying correspondence sent to the minister on January 2 was signed 'Eoghan, please see attached. Happy New Year. Regards, Johnny.”

Mr Ronan said that despite new urban building height guidelines for Dublin, there was a “reluctance” by the city council to follow these for the Docklands.

The letter states: “Clearly it would be contrary to the achievement of important government planning objectives if development in one of the most important development areas in the state, the Dublin Docklands SDZ area, is held back by the non-application of this important initiative in government policy or that the area is developed at unsustainable low heights and densities as in the current planning scheme, contrary to government policy.”

Housing Minister lobbied by developers for approval for Dublin high-rise buildings

Mr Ronan wanted to discuss the matter with Mr Murphy and his officials, adding: “We need you to help cut through the bureaucracy, red tape and unnecessary delays.”

The correspondence was among several letters from developers lobbying ministers over planning and released under Freedom of Information to Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan.

She warned in the Dáil that a decision by the housing minister last December to lift restrictions on building heights in Dublin city helped “open a space for developers whose Celtic Tiger excesses and irresponsibility had drastic consequences in many areas, including housing”.

She noted Mr Ronan's company had originally been refused planning for a tall building on Tara Street.

But this 22-storey complex - now approved - will be the tallest in the city.

Ms O'Sullivan contended that a review of height guidelines in Dublin, while supposedly for housing, was in fact for high-rise offices, commercial space and hotels.

“Well-established communities in the docklands area of North Wall are being ignored and treated with contempt. They are overshadowed and are now facing a 22-storey office block that is practically in their back gardens," the Dublin Central TD said.

“What is happening involves giving away control of an important part of the city - North Lotts and South Lotts - to developers.

We will be left with uninspiring glass cages and no communities, houses or homes.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said developments must go through the necessary planning screening process.

Nonetheless, he favours high-rise development, in line with major American cities.

“I support the policy of us going higher in our cities, not just in Dublin but also in the Tivoli docklands in the centre of Cork and the city centres of Limerick and Galway.

"Rather than growing out and continuing to sprawl, our cities should grow up.

"That is not just for housing. It also applies to office buildings, public buildings and every type of building we build," he said.

More on this topic

Proposals on housing, hospitals: Suggestions tear back an Irish curtainProposals on housing, hospitals: Suggestions tear back an Irish curtain

Stopping 'property market roller coaster’ should be priority for GovernmentStopping 'property market roller coaster’ should be priority for Government

ESRI: Redouble efforts to stop damaging 'roller coaster' of Irish house price boom-and-bustESRI: Redouble efforts to stop damaging 'roller coaster' of Irish house price boom-and-bust

Murphy wants regulations to stop short-term lets returning to Air BnB-style platformsMurphy wants regulations to stop short-term lets returning to Air BnB-style platforms


More in this Section

Around 98% of Covid-19 tests showing negative, says HSEAround 98% of Covid-19 tests showing negative, says HSE

Four deaths and 57 new cases associated with Covid-19 confirmedFour deaths and 57 new cases associated with Covid-19 confirmed

North reports one new Covid-19 death and 25 extra casesNorth reports one new Covid-19 death and 25 extra cases

Testing times: The science of fighting Covid-19Testing times: The science of fighting Covid-19


Lifestyle

Last week, I wrote about 'small is beautiful' as a key to an improved environment for all living things after this Covid crisis is finally over. As I wrote, I saw, in the mind's eye, the village where I live in west Cork and from which my wife and I are temporarily exiled.Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Fifty years ago, a fox was spotted in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. The unfortunate animal was chased by local ‘gurriers’. It took refuge in a tree but was promptly stoned to death.Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

The north pier on Cape Clear has been eerily quiet these last few months as no visitors disembark. The ferry is not unloading boatloads of tourists from Baltimore, 45 minutes away, or from Schull, as it would normally.The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the scorching summer of 2018 and the 2010 freeze-up, says we’ll have a ‘lovely’ summer.Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

More From The Irish Examiner