Dermot Desmond’s ‘Ballymun Towers South Dublin’ tag for plan on ex-RTÉ land branded ‘incredible’

Dermot Desmond

Gordon Deegan

A tag of ‘Ballymun Towers South Dublin’ put by billionaire Dermot Desmond on the €338m apartment plan by Cairn Homes for former RTÉ lands in D4 “creates a stigmatisation that is just completely unwarranted” for the development.

That is according to Cllr James Geoghegan (FG) who was just one of a number of Fine Gael Dublin City councillors to hit out at the Ballymun tag placed on the development by Mr Desmond at a Council Dublin South East area meeting to consider the Cairn ‘Project Montrose’ plan.

An Bord Pleanala is due to make a decision on the plan next week after the High Court last Friday cleared the way for a decision to be made after rejecting a challenge by Mr Desmond’s wife, Pat Desmond and two other Ailesbury Rd residents.

Pat and Dermot Desmond. Photos: Kieran Harnett

In a lengthy report, Dublin City Council planners have recommended to An Bord Pleanala that planning permission be granted.

However, elected members of the council are divided over the plan.

Mr Desmond wrote to councillors in June where he claimed that the 611 apartment plan is akin to ‘Ballymun Towers South Dublin’.

Cllr Geoghegan - who is in favour of the Cairn application - told the meeting it was “very unfortunate” Mr Desmond used the Ballymun phrase when referring to the Cairn development.

Cllr Geoghegan stated that Mr Desmond’s letter contained “reasonable criticisms” of the Government fast track plan legislation under which the Project Montrose plan has been lodged.

Cllr Paddy McCartan (FG) also hit out at Mr Desmond’s “Ballymun towers” characterisation of the proposal. Cllr McCartan stated that it was a “pejorative reference” as Ballymun was built in the 1960s made up of 36 blocks. Cllr Danny Byrne (FG) described the reference to Ballymun as “incredible”.

He said the development is one of the finest if not the finest development that Dublin has seen. He stated: “It is an absolutely fantastic development in a brilliant location.”

However, Cllr Mannix Flynn (Ind) told the meeting he has huge problems with the proposal in terms of height and wind tunnelling. He stated: “There is a comparison between the development and the towers of Ballymun.”

Mannix Flynn. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The Ailesbury Rd Residents Association is one party to object to the Cairn plan and Cllr Pat Dunne (Independents4change) told the meeting: “Let the message go out to the millionaires on Ailesbury Rd that their worries, their concerns are not the concerns of the majority of the people in this city.”

He said: “Our concerns are in relation to homelessness, the lack of housing, the thousands of families living in over-crowded decisions.” Cairn Homes is planning to sell 61 of the apartments in the plan to the city council for €30m to comply with Part V social housing obligations and Cllr McCartan stated that this works out at €500,000 an apartment on average “and is something I don’t think is sustainable”.

He said: “I don’t think it is value for money and paying €500,000 for an apartment is not tenable.”

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