Wednesday 23 August 2017

Niall Quinn's 72-bedroom extension to hotel falls foul of elderly Christian brothers

Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas, the development of which is opposed by Christian Brothers in the adjoining monastery Photo: Doug O’Connor
Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas, the development of which is opposed by Christian Brothers in the adjoining monastery Photo: Doug O’Connor

Gordon Deegan

Plans by former soccer international Niall Quinn to build a 72-bedroom extension to his Kildare hotel have fallen foul of an elderly group of Christian Brothers.

This follows the congregation of five Christian Brothers, aged 69 to 88, claiming that the plan by Marchford Ltd for Lawlor's Hotel in Naas will disturb its tranquil life in the adjoining St Patrick's Monastery.

In August 2014, Quinn joined up with Kilcullen Bakery to buy Lawlor's Hotel from examinership by making available €2.24m to fund a financial recovery for the hotel firm, Marchford Ltd.

Last October, Quinn resigned from the board of Marchford Ltd - although he remains an inactive shareholder.

Plans were lodged for the hotel extension last June, and last month Marchford Ltd secured planning permission from Kildare County Council for a four-storey extension to Lawlor's Hotel that, along with the 72 hotel rooms, will include conference/function rooms, bars and a breakfast room.

The existing hotel has 60 bedrooms and the council says the plan would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property in the vicinity.

Niall Quinn, pictured with wife Gillian, is a shareholder in the company that owns Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas, the development of which is opposed by Christian Brothers in the adjoining monastery
Niall Quinn, pictured with wife Gillian, is a shareholder in the company that owns Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas, the development of which is opposed by Christian Brothers in the adjoining monastery

However, the Christian Brothers has hired Hughes Planning and Development Consultants to lodge an appeal against the council decision to An Bord Pleanála.

The Christian Brothers is just one of seven parties to lodge an appeal against the Marchford plan, while Marchford has lodged a first-party appeal against a condition that the hotel firm pays €580,000 towards parking in Naas.

The Christian Brothers first arrived in Naas in 1871 and began constructing St Patrick's Monastery in 1902.

Marchford Ltd has tried to meet the concerns of the Christian Brothers by omitting a fifth floor and a sky bar.

However, the Christian Brothers remains concerned over the plan, but says it is not opposed to the principle of the development of the site.

In the appeal, its consultants claim that the proposed development will fall within two metres of the boundary with the monastery "and will cause a significant loss of residential amenity to the monastery and the residential amenity currently enjoyed by the resident Christian Brothers".

The Christian Brothers' residence in Naas, Co Kildare Picture: Doug O'Connor
The Christian Brothers' residence in Naas, Co Kildare Picture: Doug O'Connor

The appeal says the garden area to the rear of the monastery "is a private tranquil environment for gardening and relaxation which will be disturbed by the proposed development".

The Christian Brothers also expressed concerns over the loss of privacy that will result from the Marchford development.

The religious order also expressed security concerns arising from the hotel plan. It points out the hotel extension plan will add rooms and bars to the hotel, introducing a whole new level and intensification of activity to the hotel.

The Christian Brothers says the hotel extension plan does not address the sensitivities associated with St Patrick's Monastery - a protected structure.

A decision is due on the appeal in July.

Irish Independent

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