Wednesday 20 February 2019

Secrecy over dig at former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave's home questioned

Beechpark, the former home of the late Liam Cosgrave, on Scholarstown Road, Knocklyon. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Beechpark, the former home of the late Liam Cosgrave, on Scholarstown Road, Knocklyon. Photo: Gerry Mooney
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, pictured, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, pictured, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Excavation of land that belonged to former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave has left neighbours wondering if there has been an important archaeological find.

Cosgrave lived at Beech Park, a bungalow on 16 acres off Scholarstown Road in Knocklyon, South Dublin, until his death in 2017.

It was reported last year that property developers Ardstone Capital had bought the site for around €32m.

While locals knew the death of Mr Cosgrave was likely to lead to development on the land, work on one particular patch of the site has left them curious.

"It looks like an archaeological dig, but why all the secrecy?" one local asked.

The Herald asked South Dublin County Council (SDCC) what the work on the site was about, but the response was: "South Dublin County Council has no comment to make on this matter."

An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

One neighbour described the sequence of events surrounding the dig, which is not believed to be linked to any ongoing or historical garda probe.

"It started last October with men in diggers working on the ground, which was just a flat piece of land with no particular visible features on it," the neighbour said.

An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

"But then large tents were erected and parts of the site were covered by tarpaulin.

"There are four or five really deep holes, deep enough that the workers have to use ladders to get in to them.

An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, pictured, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
An archaeological search taking place on Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave home, Beech Park, pictured, a bungalow set in 16 acres of residentially zoned land on Scholarstown Road. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

"There are signs saying 'Deep excavation' as well as poles holding netting in place."

Local Independent councillor Deirdre O'Donovan said she had questioned different people at SDCC on the issue, but to no avail.

"It's very disappointing there hasn't been more engagement with the community," she said.

"Given how high profile the site is, there's obviously a lot of local interest in what's going on, especially in terms of how the site is going to be developed."

Herald

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