Montrose rebuild ‘essential to secure future of RTÉ’

A MAJOR building programme at its Dublin headquarters is essential if RTÉ is to maintain its position as the national broadcaster into the digital age, director general Cathal Goan told a Bord Pleanála hearing yesterday.

Mr Goan was addressing a planning inquiry into RTÉ’s €350 million Project 2025, that involves the rebuilding of most of its landmark radio, television, production and broadcasting facilities over a 10-year period.

He told the hearing the national broadcaster held “a unique place in Irish life” but could no longer “re-engineer or add to its existing facilities on site”.

Under the proposal, all of RTÉ’s services would be housed in one purpose-built complex, which would include five new TV studios and a public plaza. The complex would be built within the parameters of the existing Montrose campus in Donnybrook.

Among the buildings to be demolished under the plan, which received the approval of Dublin City Council on April 14, are the television centre, the radio centre, library, a multi-storey car park and the Fair City set.

The new complex would see a range of buildings developed varying in height from 28.5 metres at the front of the site facing the N11. The buildings would include an atrium rising to 36m at its apex, but the buildings would be “stepped down” towards the back of the site descending to 10.7m facing local housing.

Mr Goan added: ‘To remain competitive and to continue to give Irish viewers, listeners and web-users the best possible services, we now have to invest in new facilities built to meet the demands of the digital age.”

Peter Dudley of Scott Tallon Walker architects, said work could begin in 2012 and would take 10 years to complete in four stages.

Objectors to the project, including resident of the adjacent Sea View Terrace and international financial speculator Dermot Desmond, are due to give their submissions today.

The hearing is due to continue until Friday. An Bord Pleanála is expected to give a decision in relation to full planning permission by the end of this year.


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