Saturday 17 March 2018

Kingspan boss calls for high-rises to be allowed in capital

Kingspan CEO Gene Murtagh
Kingspan CEO Gene Murtagh
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The chief executive of Cavan insulation giant Kingspan, Gene Murtagh, has joined a chorus of support for the construction of high-rise buildings including offices in Dublin in order to make better use of land.

He said the capital's International Financial Services Centre and Docklands would be prime candidates for more intensive use of land.

"You've got relatively nondescript kind of territory down at those areas that could take high-rise and, frankly, it would enhance those areas, both in terms of residential and commercial," he told the Irish Independent.

"By any measure of progress in European and American cities, we're just not utilising the space in the sky like we could be. Density in Dublin needs to be addressed," said Mr Murtagh.

The chairman of Fáilte Ireland, former Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley, has also called for the law to be changed to allow high-rise hotels to be built in the capital.

Nama and the National Transport Authority have also previously called for the high-rise restrictions to be lifted.

Only in four specific locations in Dublin are buildings higher than seven storeys permitted. One of them is George's Quay, where Johnny Ronan has teamed up with Cardinal Capital to build the 22-storey Aqua Vetro Tower beside Tara Street Station on land owned by CIE. It will be the capital's tallest building when built.

Mr Murtagh was speaking as Kingspan released record results for 2016, with its profits jumping 33pc to €341m. Revenue at the group climbed 12pc to €3.1bn.

In its insulated panels business, revenue was up 17pc at €2.07bn. The unit made a €228m profit, 38pc higher than in 2015.

Kingspan's insulated boards division reported revenues of €688m, with profits rising 28pc to €78.5m.

The company's business in the UK performed strongly, despite June's Brexit vote.

But Mr Murtagh pointed out that as Brexit hasn't actually happened yet, it's impossible to know what the precise impact of the UK's departure from the European Union will mean.

"It's very difficult to call. The 'B Factor' hasn't come into play at all yet," he said.

About 28pc of Kingspan's revenues came from the UK last year.

Irish Independent

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