Friday 25 May 2018

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defends objections to constituency development, claiming area has been 'blighted'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has defended his decision to object to a four-story apartment block in his constituency, saying the area has been “blighted” by bad planning.

The Dublin Mid-West TD has been criticised by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin for the “disconnect between the rhetoric” and the “reality on the grounds in terms of substance and policy”.

In February Mr Varadkar ledged a complaint to Fingal County Council claiming that plans for a development on the Old Navan Road in Castleknock would be “grossly insensitive to local feelings”.

"To begin, four storey apartment blocks are a design model which has long fallen into disfavour.

"Yet these type of apartments are a key feature of the Absainte Ltd scheme,” he wrote.

Mr Varadkar said the development “contravenes residential zoning objectives of the area” and would “be highly generative of traffic and have a negative impact on the market value of homes".

Read More: We'll consider any measure that will help reduce farm deaths - Varadkar

Defending his letter while at the National Ploughing Championships Mr Varadkar said he is “very much a pro-development politician”.

“When I served on Fingal County Council a huge amount of development happened in my constituency. My constituency is also one that was blighted by bad planning, particularly by Fianna Fáil building housing and apartments without putting the infrastructure in first,” he said.

“I’m very much for development and housing construction in all parts of the country but there’s a difference between in favour of development and being in favour of every single development.

“It’s always the prerogative of a councillor or a TD to object developments that they may see as inappropriate.”

In last weekend’s Sunday Independent Mr Varadkar indicated he favour high-rise development as part of the solution to the housing crisis.

He also said he will "encourage balanced regional development" so that other cities like Cork, Waterford, Galway and Limerick can grow.

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