Dublin star Fenton joins the voices against park scheme
North Dublin residents are gearing up for a battle over new plans to develop lands near St Anne's Park.
Dublin GAA hero Brian Fenton is among those who are lending support to a campaign to oppose a third application for development of apartment blocks there, with a protest planned for tomorrow.
"We are expecting a large turnout, as we do any time we hold something like this," organiser Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, a Labour Party senator, told the Irish Independent.
The 'Hands Around the Park' event will raise funds by selling T-shirts.
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In a post on social media, Fenton said he wants to see the park saved.
"Recently, St Anne's Park was voted in the world's top five parks," he said.
"At a time when local sports teams are fighting for every inch of playing grounds used by thousands every week, private developers want to turn almost a third into apartments."
Developer Crekav Trading, part of Pat Crean's Marlet, was initially granted planning permission to develop 104 houses and 432 apartments on lands in Raheny, used by St Paul's College for six playing pitches. This was done through the fast-track Strategic Housing Development system.
However, a 2018 High Court case taken by the local community saw An Bord Pleanála (ABP) ordered to reconsider its decision. Central to the issue was the presence of protected brent geese, which feed on short grass on the site. In June 2018, ABP admitted that granting permission for the project was a mistake and overturned it.
In a saga that's had many twists and turns, that decision by ABP has been judicially reviewed by the developer, with a decision pending.
In the meantime it has submitted a fresh application for another development on the site. With a first application withdrawn, it marks the third set of plans for development.
Developer Marlet did not respond to a request for comment from the Irish Independent. Its fresh proposals are for 657 apartments, including nine-storey blocks to be "located in the centre of the site to minimise impact on surrounding areas".
Clontarf GAA Club have already submitted an observation to the new fast-track application to build 657 apartments on the site beside St Paul's College. The club have more than 2,000 members, including 1,400 juveniles, and said they have been badly affected by the decision to sell the playing pitches at St Paul's College in 2015.