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New homes near Áras 'no danger to president', say developers


President Michal D Higgins

President Michal D Higgins

President Michal D Higgins

Two property firms have rejected claims that a new housing development near Phoenix Park would pose a threat to the security of the President.

Lark Finance and SM Blackhorse said their plans to build 33 houses and 31 apartments at Blackhorse Avenue, 400 metres from Áras an Uach- taráin, present no danger to Michael D Higgins.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) had called on Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission after raising "serious concerns" that a proposed four-storey apartment block posed a security risk.

It also expressed concern about the impact the development could have on users of the park, as well as the potential for it to affect the stability of the historic perimeter walls.

Chief park superintendent Margaret Gormley said the OPW had been advised by gardaí that the apartment block, which would rise to around 13.6 metres, looked directly on to Phoenix Park.

Ms Gormley said gardaí were concerned that people on the top floor or roof garden could see directly into the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin, its internal walkways and the front aspect of the main house.


Gardaí said a tree line partially obscured views of the main house in summer, but there was a "near unobscured view" in winter as most of the trees were deciduous.

"The President meets and greets visiting dignitaries at the front of the residence and it appears from plans that there is a vantage point from the proposed apartment complex to allow professional or pol- itically motivated criminals from committing either criminally or politically motivated crimes from that location," gardaí said.

The co-developers said they had arranged for a drone to take pictures from the site of the development at various floor levels, which showed "vast tree planting" obscured views of Áras an Uachtaráin.

"Still images have been taken at eye level of each level of the development and confirm that there is no view of the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin achiev- able," they said.

"It is not until a person would be at twice the proposed height of this development that there is a clear view."

The city council has sought further information from Lark Finance and SM Blackhorse before making a decision on whether to grant planning permission.

The development has also faced strong opposition from local residents and councillors, with more than 40 separate objections being submitted against the plans.