Business Irish

Sunday 26 May 2019

An Taisce says Dublin will have too many hotels

Ben Dunne has been backed by An Taisce over the plans. Photo: Sportsfile
Ben Dunne has been backed by An Taisce over the plans. Photo: Sportsfile

Gordon Deegan

Businessman Ben Dunne has branded plans to demolish Twilfit House in Dublin to make way for an eight-storey hotel as "unacceptable".

In his opposition to plans to demolish the building at the junction of Jervis Street and Upper Abbey Street, the colourful businessman has an unlikely ally in An Taisce which is against the proliferation of hotels in Dublin.

This is in contrast to Fáilte Ireland, which states that there are not enough rooms for visitors to the capital, in a submission lodged in support of the application.

Twilfit House currently houses one of Mr Dunne's gyms and also accommodates the Leprechaun Museum.

However, as part of its plan, investment group Abarta Investments has applied to Dublin City Council to demolish Twilfit House and erect in its place an eight-storey over-basement hotel.

The group is intending to spend a reported €19.3m on the development.

However, planning consultant for Mr Dunne, George Watters states that the proposed demolition of Twilfit house is unacceptable, unwarranted and inappropriate and should be rejected by the council.

Mr Watters points out that Twilfit House was built in the late 1920s and "its demolition would be a substantial loss of character in an area that is becoming devoid of any context and historic reference".

Mr Watters also argued that the plan represents an over development of the site.

In its objection, the Dublin City Association of An Taisce state that there is a huge level of new hotels permitted or in the planning system for Dublin.

In the An Taisce objection, Kevin Duff argues "it has reached the point of unsustainability in the context of city centre planning".

However, in a submission, Mary Stack of Fáilte Ireland states that there is a major threat to additional tourism in Dublin "because of the acute shortage of hotel bedrooms in the city centre".

"The current demand far exceeds supply and inevitably in a scenario such as this, prices are inflated giving the message internationally that Dublin is not a competitive destination.

Ms Stack said that the Abarta proposal "would be a valuable addition to the accommodation stock in Dublin and would go some way to address the accommodation challenge being faced".

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