29 April 1999 Edition

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Community takes on multi-million pound industry


The community of South Lotts, Ringsend in Dublin's South East Inner City went into battle last week against leading players in the recent boom in the construction industry, Zoe Development Ltd.

Zoe Development's proposal for a multi-million-pound project up to ten storeys high at the Barrow Street Gasometer site in Dublin is being strenuously opposed by local residents.

The An Bord Pleanála appeal hearing held on Thursday and Friday last had been eagerly anticipation by communities across Dublin, as it was seen as a test case for high-rise development across the capital.

The plan includes 655 apartments, shops, hotel and a leisure centre. It is totally out of context with what already exists in the area, as South Lotts is a settled working-class community.

Local people are particularly annoyed at the arrogance of Zoe Development. Letters have never been replied to and there has been no consultation with residents.

Avril Mordaunt, Chairperson of the Shelbourne Park Residents' Association, explained how they had sent letters to Zoe Development Ltd. in an attempt to make contact with the company, only to be ignored.

This case has captured the attention of people because communities in Dublin realise that if this development gets the go ahead it will set a dangerous precedent. Such developments increase the profits of construction companies while alienating local people and pushing the cost of homes beyond the means of the working class communities in which they are situated.

Speaking at the oral hearing last week, Sinn Féin South East Inner City candidate Daithí Doolan highlighted the inequality of the situation. ``We are not operating on a level playing field. On one hand, we have a multi-million-pound company attempting to bully a community into submission. On the other hand we have Shelbourne Park Residents' Association voluntarily organising the battle for their democratic right to be recognised.

``The 8,000 people on Dublin Corporation's housing list deserve better than to have their future decided by private developers whose only motives are profit.''

An Bord Pleanála's decision is expected in two to three months.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1