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Jesuits come under fire in homes plan

COUNCILLORS have hit out at the Jesuits over a plan to redevelop its fire-damaged premises in Dublin 4.

The religious order is looking for permission from Dublin City Council to build homes at Loyola House on the corner of Eglinton Road and Sandford Road.

It wants to turn the property into an apartment block and add a four-storey extension to the rear. The plans also contain provision for a four-storey apartment block containing 11 units and six semi-detached houses.

But councillors on the local authority's South-East Area Committee expressed concern at the reduction in green space that would arise as a result.

Fianna Fail's Jim O'Callaghan said his main concern is that the religious order would sell off more land to be built on in the area.

"It's a beautiful grounds and house. It would mean developing more green space for the purposes of a residential scheme," Cllr O'Callaghan told the Herald.

Labour's Dermot Lacey said it was agreed at the committee meeting that planners should not give permission to the project unless the townhouses were deleted from the plan.

In April 2007, a fire broke out at Loyola House, causing extensive damage to the building. No one was injured but the blaze destroyed a number of files.

Noah Bunn (26), a former clerical employee of the Jesuits and member of environmental group, Friends of the Earth, was convicted of starting the fire, causing €3m worth of damage.

Local residents have lodged a series of objections to the planning application.

On opponent stated: "The additional traffic generated by the additional homes and apartments seeking permission on this site will exacerbate the existing traffic jams that occur at peak times during the working week and at match times."

Another stated, while the redevelopment is welcome, "the density of the proposed development is far too high for the size of the plot".