Wednesday 12 December 2018

Dunne happier with revised hotel plan

Ben Dunne
Ben Dunne

Gordon Deegan

Dublin City Council has given the go-ahead for a seven- storey €19m hotel in spite of concerns by one of Ireland's best known businessmen.

Ben Dunne, inset, objected to plans to demolish Twilfit House on Upper Abbey Street and Jervis Street to make way for the hotel, mainly because of his interest in graveyards.

Mr Dunne's concerns centred around plans to disturb 125 gravestones in Wolfe Tone Park during the construction phase of the hotel and reinstate them.

"I have concerns over the impact the development will have on the remains interred in Wolfe Tone park. I have a lot of feeling for graveyards," Mr Dunne said in the past. The objection lodged on his behalf contained a number of photos showing headstones in the park that will disturbed by the development.

Twilfit House houses one of Mr Dunne's gyms at Jervis Street but he has said that his opposition to the plan was not motivated by commercial reasons.

In revised plans lodged in response to An Taisce's and Mr Dunne's concerns that included other aspects of the proposal, the firm, Abarta Investments removed one storey and cut the number of rooms from 218 to 180. In an interview yesterday, Mr Dunne said that most of his concerns had been satisfied with the revised plan but not his concerns about the graveyard. He said that if he were to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála based on his concerns over the gravestones, "I would be fighting a losing battle -not that I mind fighting a losing battle, but I have got to be realistic as well.

"The applicants revised the plan and I have to say it is a very good plan and I would be only objecting for the sake of objecting if I was to appeal." He added: "I don't like doing to people what has been done to myself time to time." The council ordered that in-situ burials shall not be disturbed during development except in exceptional circumstances and any slabs disturbed shall be recorded, conserved, stored and returned to the site.

Irish Independent

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