22 March 2001 Edition

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Kilmainham planning battle hots up

Residents of Kilmainham and Inchicore are taking their battle against property developers Charmside to An Bord Pleanála. The proposed office blocks will tower over Kilmainham Jail if allowed to proceed.

A mass protest on Friday 16 March at the historic site marked the handing in of the residents' objections and their demand for an oral hearing at An Bord Pleanála. Previously, a packed meeting in Inchicore on Tuesday 6 March agreed to back the lodging of the planning appeal.

After their initial plans were blocked last year, the developers resubmitted their plans, increasing the size of the proposed buildings. The developers, Charmside, are virtually one and the same as Treasury Holdings whose plans for skyscrapers on Spencer Dock, Dublin, was rejected after a campaign by residents. They are also behind the failed bid to redevelop London's Millennium Dome.

The plans for Kilmainham will see not only the local houses being overshadowed, but would also see the historical sites of Kilmainham Jail, Kilmainham Courthouse, Richmond Tower and the Royal Hospital dwarfed by the complex of offices. The huge volume of traffic which will be associated with the offices, - between 3,000 and 4,000 people will work here with only 587 car parking spaces - will be detrimental to locals' quality of life and to any attempt to develop the tourism potential of the historical area of Inchicore and Kilmainham.

Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh has been involved with the campaign from the start and said: ``Once again the wishes of local residents for a development which would enhance and tap the huge tourism potential of this unique historical area disregarded.

``Sinn Féin will stand with the people in their struggle against speculative developers. With the stench of corruption still lingering around the planning process in this country, it is no wonder that the public haven't had their faith restored when their wishes, the stated planning policy of Dublin Corporation for the area and its tourism potential are ignored by Dublin Corporation's planning officials.''

Costs upwards of £5,000 are likely to be incurred by the committee lodging their appeal, so fundraising has begun. A bank account has been opened to receive donations, Bank of Ireland (Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore) Sort Code. 90-01-64, Account No. 19339063. A website www.kilmainham-gaol.com has also been established for the Campaign.

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