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'We're tired of being rode roughshod over by Fine Gael' - Locals voice outrage at high-rise development in Coolock

 

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Local residents at the protest in Coolock
Photo: Mick Carolan

Local residents at the protest in Coolock Photo: Mick Carolan

Local residents at the protest in Coolock Photo: Mick Carolan

Coolock residents protested today against the construction of a high-rise residential development in the village.

The high-rise development, on Main Street in the village in north Dublin, consists of a six-storey apartment block and a five-storey block.

The scheme will house a total of 88 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Planning permission was granted to developers Bloom Capital, despite 238 formal objections.

 

Local residents protested today in front of the construction site on the former Chanel College land on the village’s main street.

Coolock local Padraig Kent said that the village will not be able to support the increased level of traffic.

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Local resident Padraig Kent, at the protest in Coolock. Photo: Mick Carolan

Local resident Padraig Kent, at the protest in Coolock. Photo: Mick Carolan

Local resident Padraig Kent, at the protest in Coolock. Photo: Mick Carolan

"It's on the same basement with the same amount of parking spaces as the 2009 plans," he said.

"It's going to affect local businesses, because you won't be able to get parking. There's a park-and-ride down the road - that won't be used to park and ride, that will then be used by local residents because they simply won't have enough parking.

"Dublin City Council (DCC) have disregarded every argument that we brought forward. We asked for a traffic survey - their answer is that they are going to encourage residents not to own cars... how realistic.

"They want to fit as many people in to these dog boxes as they possibly can. People are very, very upset with DCC and they are very upset with the government who are allowing this to take place."

Residents said that their protest wasn't an example of 'not in my village', and that they were aware of the housing crisis and would be fully accepting of residential construction - just not on the scale of this development.

The area has been earmarked for residential development for over a decade and three separate projects were planned there. In 2009, 53 apartments were to be built there, an application in 2015 saw 65 planned, and now the figure has increased to 88. Despite the more numerous apartments and higher plan, the footprint of the building has remained the same and the number of parking spaces has slightly reduced.

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Local residents, Karen Judd (left) with Shona Whelan, at the protest in Coolock
Photo: Mick Carolan

Local residents, Karen Judd (left) with Shona Whelan, at the protest in Coolock Photo: Mick Carolan

Local residents, Karen Judd (left) with Shona Whelan, at the protest in Coolock Photo: Mick Carolan

One of the major bones of contention for the locals is the design of the building, which they described as "a monstrosity". Coolock residents fear that the six-storey project will overshadow the mostly two-storey buildings in the area.

Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Bay North, Seán Haughey, said that there was a need for more housing in Dublin, but that a high-rise development in Coolock was not the right way to go about providing more homes.

"I'm not apposed to residential developments and this site suits that, but what we're talking about here is unsustainable," he told Independent.ie

"This is a lovely village, one of the traditional villages of Dublin and it's just bad planning. The facilities aren't here to support such a huge increase in population and I think we are just making problems for the future if we allow this particular development to go ahead.

"I don't think Fine Gael are going about creating residential developments the right way. I think they have negated local democracy. People don't feel like they have an input into the planning anymore because of new procedure brought in place by Minister Eoghan Murphy and I think that is building up a lot of bad will."

A fire this week at Scoil Chaitríona Cailíní on Mask Avenue, just a 10-minute walk from Coolock main street, saw six units from Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) fighting the blaze. There was not enough local water pressure for DFB to work off the mains however, something local resident Shona Whelan says highlights the issue of safety in the area.

"We're tired of being rode, roughshod over by Fine Gael. They are not considering the people here at all," she said.

"It's not suitable to the area, it doesn't fit in at all. There are no amenities or local infrastructure included. Road safety hasn't even been done here yet.

"Looking at the area, and looking at the buildings around here - we're a small area. Are they just planning on boxing us in?

"We live on an extremely busy road, there's a school right next to the development. My worry is that children are coming in and out, we're going to see injuries and fatalities in this village now."

Neither the council or developers returned calls seeking comment on the protest.

Online Editors