16 September 2004 Edition

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Success in Sinn Féin battle to save Dublin's oldest heritage village

Sinn Féin City Councillors who have been fighting against 'apartment-led' proposals for Chapelizod because they constitute a "gross over-development" of the city's oldest heritage village achieved a significant victory at a City Council meeting on Monday, 13 September.

Sinn Féin has vehemently opposed the proposed rezoning of land in Chapelizod to a status that had too wide an interpretation. Councillor Tony Smithers (right) who represents the Ballyfermot and Chapelizod areas said: "The most disturbing aspect of the Dublin Draft Development Plan as it effects Chapelizod were the proposals which aimed to re-zone the small, local industrial estate to mixed development but there was nothing specific proposed here so we were being asked to buy a pig in a poke. It was not the correct way to proceed. For all we know we could have ended up with skyscrapers on this site if the plans went ahead."

The City Council meeting on Monday resumed discussions on the Dublin Draft Development Plan, which had been postponed last week due to Sinn Féin opposition to aspects of the plan including those for Chapelizod. Councillors from all parties supported Sinn Féin's opposition to the rezoning.

Tony Smithers continued: "Already I am very unhappy with the way the development of Chapelizod has been progressing. Around 1,300 apartments have been built in the area but the housing units have not been designed to produce sustainable community and family living. For instance I believe that despite the amount of new units, only three children are living within these apartments. Compare this to the nearby Clúid Housing Association development that is made up of 35 houses containing 30 children.

"Chapelizod is Dublin City's oldest heritage village with a very unique character and many historical architectural features but its character is being changed and it is further threatened by moves towards more apartment-led development. Sinn Féin has now successfully opposed proposals in the Draft Development Plan that would have increased this."

At the same meeting Sinn Féin opposition to the rezoning of land between Labre Park in Ballyfermot and the Grand Canal for heavy industrial use was also successfully taken on board and that rezoning will not now proceed. The plan was opposed due to its proximity to the canal walk, which Sinn Féin wants to see developed for local people and because it is home to Dublin's longest established Travellers halting site. Plans for the redevelopment of the halting site at Labre Park can go ahead.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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