Thousands gather in Dublin park to protest against development of 500 new homes
Thousands of people gathered at a popular Dublin park yesterday in a bid to stop more than 500 new homes from being built.
St Anne's Park in Raheny was swarming with protesters who came out to object to the development of 536 residential units at St Paul's College.
The project spells the end of playing fields adjacent to St Anne's Park.
Demonstrators arrived donning red T-shirts with 'Hands Off Our Park' printed across the front.
Members of local sports teams wore club jerseys, while others held colourful banners, placards and balloons.
Shortly after noon, the protesters marched through the park and back again, clearly displaying their passion and concern for the future of the site.
Crekav Trading, which is part of development company Marlet, submitted a planning application in which it said it intended to replace the playing pitches with a gym and two outdoor all-weather pitches. However, objectors believe it will not be enough to cater for the hundreds of school children in the area.
Mother-of-three Roisin Dooley said the loss of the pitches was a terrible blow to the community. "My boys play GAA every Saturday morning and also soccer and rugby during the week. The loss of the pitches means our children are being squashed into shorter times in the local GAA club, which is on a very small pitch," she said.
Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, organiser of the demonstration, said there were better ways to alleviate the housing crisis.
"Every local councillor at the area committee meeting last Wednesday, who deal with the housing problem every day, is opposed to this development," he said.
"The solution [to the housing crisis] is not to build on playing pitches that local children use or to destroy a local amenity which is loved by the people of the northside."
The developer could not be contacted for comment at the time of publication.