Marlet: Labour senator a 'serial housing objector'
O'Riordain protest under fire, writes Ronald Quinlan
Developer Pat Crean's Marlet Property Group has hit out at Labour Party senator Aodhan O'Riordain over his involvement in local opposition to its plan to deliver 164 new homes on a site overlooking Howth harbour in Dublin.
While the Baily Court scheme secured planning permission from An Bord Pleanala in September, O'Riordain and the other members of the newly-formed Howth Village Action Group are actively considering seeking leave for a judicial review of the decision.
Should the group decide to pursue that course of action, it would be the second time O'Riordain has been involved challenging a bid by Marlet to build new homes in his constituency.
Earlier this year, Marlet subsidiary, Crekav Trading, saw its plans for 104 houses and 432 apartments on former playing fields of St Paul's College beside St Anne's Park in Raheny overturned following a judicial review of An Bord Pleanala's decision to approve the scheme.
A spokesman for the company said: "There is a housing crisis in Dublin. This Senator's party publicly sheds crocodile tears about it.
"This weekend his party conference heard fine speeches demanding action to ensure homes are built. Yet locally, Senator O'Riordáin has become a serial opponent of attempts to actually build much-needed homes.
"He won't talk to us about whatever concerns he says he has, but is intent on whipping up opposition to housing among the residents of Howth, as he did in Raheny recently in relation to the St Paul's development."
Senator O'Riordain rejected Marlet's claims and said: "When a planning application goes in, people who live around the site are entitled to be part of the conversation.
"I don't think we need to go back to the time when developers decided exactly what was built, when it was built, and how it was built. We've lived through a lot of difficulties because of that type of mindset."
He also rejected the suggestion that he was opposed to housing being built in his constituency, pointing out that he had supported new developments in his area, often against the wishes of the local people.
He added: "Nobody has an issue with a development on the Baily Court site. I would welcome it. It's a derelict site. It's quite unsightly. A development there of some description would benefit the whole village area."
O'Riordain added, however, that he and the members of the Howth Village Action Group had concerns that the development approved by An Bord Pleanala could exacerbate the problem of subsidence which the area had experienced in the past. "We don't feel that An Bord Pleanala has properly taken that into account. We are going through the process of challenging that decision," he said.
Responding to Marlet's statement that he had refused to engage with them, he said: "In my experience, there's nothing binding about those conversations.
"There's nothing that will necessarily be adhered to by either side. If the developer is happy that everything is okay with the development, then he should be happy to see the planning process reach its natural conclusion."
Sunday Indo Business