Wednesday 18 September 2019

Crosbie plans to reclaim Dublin Bay land for homes 'a non-starter' - Haughey

Harry Crosbie. Photo: Damien Eagers
Harry Crosbie. Photo: Damien Eagers

Caroline O'Doherty and Kevin Doyle

Harry Crosbie's efforts to put the Haughey name in his corner in his fight to have his Dublin Bay land reclamation plan taken seriously have been dealt a blow after Sean Haughey said he was "totally opposed" to the idea.

Developer Mr Crosbie has repeatedly said former Taoiseach Charles Haughey would have been visionary enough to back the massive plan to extend the city into the sea with space for 65,000 homes.

"If Charlie Haughey was alive, I'd be pumping sand today," he declared in a series of interviews.

But Sean Haughey, who followed his late father into the Dáil, holding a seat for Dublin Bay North, rejected the claims.

Referring to the attempts to invoke the spirit of his father, he tweeted: "I am totally opposed to any proposal to infill Dublin Bay, a wonderful natural resource with three internationally recognised bio-diversity designations."

Mr Haughey said later he understood the point Mr Crosbie was making. "My father was able to get things done - whether it was the IFSC, Government Buildings or Temple Bar. But his record as regards infilling Dublin Bay is a good one as well."

In the 1980s, when Dublin Port wanted to fill in 52 acres of foreshore, Mr Haughey blocked the controversial plan.

"I'm not being personal. I do admire Harry's vision in many areas but I think on this one it's a non-starter," his son said.

Not to be outdone, Mr Crosbie said he believed Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was the man currently in Cabinet who was bold enough to embrace the idea.

But the minister, although known to be a big admirer of the can-do Crosbie attitude - and of the developer's successful Vicar Street venue - didn't immediately fall for the flattery. "The minister is not aware of that proposal," his spokesperson said.

Mr Crosbie has not submitted his plan through any official channels even though he says he would hand over the 250-acre site beside Clontarf free to the State, minus only the few acres needed to pay the Dutch land reclamation specialists he has his eye on for the job.

Dublin City Council nevertheless made its position clear, saying it had no plans to infill Dublin Bay. "There is capacity in the city for 52,600 new residential units on brownfield lands, etc. The council is also reviewing the potential of our individual land banks to provide a further 15,000 residential units in the future," it said.

Local Green Party councillor Donna Cooney was relieved. "It's not just a no; it's a no, no, no," she said.

Irish Independent

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