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Dublin site part-owned by Robert Troy was at heart of planning row overseen by Bord Pleanála’s former deputy chair

Fianna Fáil TD Troy included site in list of assets he published yesterday 

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Junior Minister Robert Troy. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Junior Minister Robert Troy. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Junior Minister Robert Troy. Photo: Gareth Chaney

A site co-owned by under-fire junior minister Robert Troy was at the centre of a planning dispute overseen by former Bord Pleanála deputy chair Paul Hyde.

Mr Troy referenced the site in a list of his assets and business interests he published after it emerged he failed to declare properties he sold to local authorities.

The minister said he alerted the Clerk of the Dáil to the sale of the garden of one of his “registered properties” on the Rathdown Road, in Dublin.

The site appears in a list of business interests the Fianna Fáil TD revealed, including claiming rent from Westmeath County Council under Rental Accommodation Scheme for two properties and letting out a room in his home under the Rent-a-Room Scheme.

Mr Hyde, who is at the centre of a garda investigation into decisions he took while deputy chair of An Bord Pleanála, gave approval for two houses on land co-owned by Mr Troy and his business partner John Noel McGivney after local residents opposed the development.

There is no suggestion of any impropriety in relation to the approval of the development but there are concerns in Government over the legitimacy of planning decisions Mr Hyde made following the investigation into potential conflicts of interest he had while sitting on the board.

Mr Hyde has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the garda investigations.

Mr McGivney, a nursing home operator, sought planning permission from Dublin City Council in 2018 to build two three-bedroom town houses on the Rathdown Road, near the Grangegorman campus of the Dublin third-level college, TD Dublin.

The development was proposed on a strip of land the two men owned beside a house they own on the road.

Mr McGivney and Mr Troy were registered as owners of the house just off the North Circular Road in February 2016, according to Land Registry records. A mortgage with AIB is registered against the property by the co-owners.

The sale of the house does not appear to be listed on Residential Property Price Register. Two years later, Mr McGivney sought permission to build the two townhouses adjoining the property he owns with Mr Troy.

Locals raised concerns about the development of two modern houses on a Victorian-era street. The Rathdown Road and District Residents Association made an objection to the proposal on a number of grounds.

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It said the development “does not adequately respond to the architecture quality of the adjoining terrace”.

They said the “visually jarring juxtaposition” of the existing and proposed building was evident from the plans provided by the developer.

The residents’ group also took issue with the development’s proposed floor-to- ceiling windows which they said “will give rise to a ‘Tracey Emin’s Bed’ phenomenon where beds (made or unmade) will be visible from the street”.

Other objectors raised concerns about the ownership of the site being developed which may have resulted in Mr Troy submitting a letter to the local authority stating he was co-owner of the land.

The residents’ group lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála seeking to stop the development after Dublin City Council gave its approval.

They said townhouses in their proposed form “would be out of character and would fail to integrate with the historic architectural quality of the Victorian-style housing”.

They also raised health and safety and structural concerns about the development. They raised questions about the site’s ownership, according to a Bord Pleanála inspector’s report.

Mr McGivney responded, saying the development was a “modest intervention in the streetscape” and that there was “precedent for contemporary style infill developments in the area”.

A Bord Pleanála inspector
ruled in favour of Mr McGivney. The proposed development would respect the character of existing development within the area, he said.

The order giving clearance for the development, including some conditions on design, was signed and authorised by An Bord Pleanála deputy chair Paul Hyde.

Mr Troy did not respond the queries about the development or the sale of a garden on the Rathdown Road site. He also did not respond to questions about the property not being listed on the Residential Property Price Register.

*This article was amended on 19/08/2022


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