Sunday 15 September 2019

Controversial Magdalene laundry flats plan is given the green light

The old chimney at the site of the Sisters of Charity Magdalene Laundry in Donnybrook.
Photo: Tony Gavin 6/3/2017
The old chimney at the site of the Sisters of Charity Magdalene Laundry in Donnybrook. Photo: Tony Gavin 6/3/2017
Marlet’s Pat Crean. Photo: Jason Clarke Photography

Gordon Deegan and Donal Buckley

DUBLIN City Council has granted a developer permission to construct a controversial apartment complex on the site of a former Magdalene laundry in Donnybrook.

In 2017, a previous 25-unit residential plan for the site was withdrawn. Pembroke Partnership, the applicants for the revised plan, said a subsequent archaeological dig at the site uncovered no burials.

Now, the council has granted planning permission to Pembroke Partnership for 44 apartments in three three-to-four storey apartment blocks.

READ MORE: Controversial Magdalene apartment plan 'a tragedy'

As part of the permission, the council has ordered the developers put in place an appropriate memorial to honour the memory of the women who worked in the former laundry.

The planner said the developer had made significant efforts to acknowledge the sensitivity of the site and to record its history for posterity.

The chimney stack on site is a protected structure and is to remain in place and be a prominent feature in the new residential development.

READ MORE: Magdalene women finally lift veil on dark Irish chapter

The site’s use as a Magdalene laundry ceased in 1992 when it was sold to a private company, which operated a commercial laundry on the site until 2006. Since then, the site has been vacant.

Meanwhile, property developer Marlet has been given the go ahead to more than double the number of apartments it intends to develop on the Upper Kilmacud Road in Dundrum, Dublin 14 – which will potentially be sold to a cuckoo fund or housing association.

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Marlet’s Pat Crean. Photo: Jason Clarke Photography

An Bord Pleanála has approved the application by Marlet’s subsidiary, Crekav Trading GP, for 253 apartments on the properties which span 4.35 acres which is bounded on two sides by Airfield urban farm.

Crekav has indicated it intends to start enabling works in the next few weeks and hopes to complete the development by the summer of 2021.

While initially Marlet’s chief executive Pat Crean had indicated it would hope to sell the units individually, it is now expected he will try to sell the whole development in one lot – potentially to a cuckoo fund or housing association. 

Separately, Cairn Homes has lodged planning documentation with An Bord Pleanála, signalling its intention to build 611 apartments and three townhouses on the site it bought from RTÉ for €107.5m over two years ago.

The number of units planned is 105 higher than the original 500 apartments and nine homes Cairn initially indicated it would build on the 8.64 site at RTÉ’s Donnybrook site after its purchase in June 2017.

It was sold at 43pc above the guide price of €75m.

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