Business World

Sunday 25 August 2019

Guinness startup centre launches fight against €280,000 planning bill

Diageo Ireland boss Oliver Loomes wrote to the council backing the application before the council gave the plan the go-ahead (stock photo)
Diageo Ireland boss Oliver Loomes wrote to the council backing the application before the council gave the plan the go-ahead (stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

The Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) is fighting against Dublin City Council's decision to impose a €280,000 planning contribution charge on its €10m expansion plan.

Last month, the council gave the not-for-profit working space located in the Liberties area of Dublin the go-ahead for the expansion that will almost double capacity.

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The centre has been home to many startups since it opened in 2000, and hosts 85 companies employing more than 400 people.

Once completed, the expanded development will see the GEC becoming home to 160 startups with 750 employees.

It will also have capacity for a further 220 co-working companies.

Overall, the GEC estimates that 1,500 direct jobs will be created as a result of the redevelopment over the next five years, with the Exchequer receiving a €75m boost.

However, the plan is stalled for now as the GEC has appealed to An Bord Pleanála against the contribution demanded by Dublin City Council.

The council told the GEC that the €280,498 is to go towards the funding of public infrastructure and facilities in the area.

Dublin City Council was one of the agencies that established the centre in 1999.

Planning consultants for the GEC have appealed against the €280,498 contribution demand "on the basis that as the GEC is a not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to the community and a training facility and is a registered charity organisation, it should not be liable to contributions".

Diageo Ireland boss Oliver Loomes wrote to the council backing the application before the council gave the plan the go-ahead.

Mr Loomes said Diageo has long recognised the positive contribution that the GEC has on the economic and social fabric of Dublin 8.

A decision on the appeal is due in September.

Irish Independent

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