One of the country’s best selling authors, Sheila O’Flanagan, has told An Bord Pleanala that the construction of a new school near her Dublin home will be “catastrophic” for her privacy.
Last month, Dublin City Council gave the go-ahead to Bono’s old secondary school, Mount Temple School on Malahide Road, Clontarf, for a new three-storey school accommodating 1,000 students.
The plan involves the demolition of the existing school and the council gave the go-ahead in spite of opposition from Ms O’Flanagan and other local residents.
Famously, all members of U2 attended Mount Temple School and the band formed after Larry Mullen put a notice on the school notice board in September 1976.
The contentious school development involves the relocation of the school away from its current location and beside houses on Copeland Grove.
Now, in an appeal against the Council decision to grant permission, award-winning novelist Ms O’Flanagan has told the appeals board that “the loss of privacy to me (and other residents) by placing the school so dramatically close to our homes is catastrophic”.
The Copeland Grove Residents has also appealed the Council decision while the Dept of Education has appealed against conditions attached to the grant of permission.
Ms O’Flanagan has told the appeals board: “I am a writer and work from home. I need space and time for reflection as well as physically writing.
I do not want to be observed daily by students as I work. Nor do I want to observe them.
Ms O’Flanagan stated that she will be one of the most affected by the siting of the building “and subjected to a significant loss of privacy both to my home as a residential space and to my home office where I have worked for more than 20 years”.
Ms O’Flanagan whose ‘All for You’ won an Irish Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award, said that if permission is upheld, the school building will be significantly higher than the houses and students will be able to look down into each home.
She said: “I am very concerned about my ability to continue to work if I am under constant observation by students at the school.”
“Pupils will be able to look directly into both my home office and living area from their classrooms as well as having an unimpeded view into my bedroom which I find totally unacceptable.”
Ms O’Flanagan has told the appeals board: “In granting permission, the very valid concerns of the broader community have not been taken into account by Dublin City Council.
“It should not be the case that the very necessary development of the school should impact so catastrophically on the residents who have always supported it.”
Ms O’ Flanagan hit out at the Dept of Education’s decision to move the school to within 100 metres of her home in spite of the school having an area of 9.5 hectares to build on.
She said that the site was chosen by the Dept in order to preserve the views of protected structures of Mount Temple House and the Clocktower.
Ms O’Flanagan stated that the views from the buildings that are not used for day-to-day purposes have been placed ahead of the valid concerns of locals.
She said that “this seems to be a complete failure by Dublin City Council to consider the quality of life of local residents”.
A decision is due by the appeals board in June.