Race is on to build first 'Dublin Eye'


IT'S TYPICAL: you wait ages for a giant ferris whell to come along and then two turn up at once.

The race is on to be the first to build Dublin’s answer to the London Eye – the 135m observation wheel on the south bank of the river Thames.

Developer Harry Crosbie stole a march yesterday by announcing he intended to build a €10 million Dublin Eye beside his O2 arena in the Point Village.

A statement released on Mr Crosbie’s behalf yesterday said that the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) had “chosen” the Point Village as the site for the Dublin Eye and that work would get under way immediately subject to planning permission.

The giant wheel would be run as part of the Point Square concept with Dublin City Council “which will host free to the public rock concerts, produce markets, giant screen sports events as Dublin’s new civic centre” it said.

The project would be a joint venture between the Point Village and World Tourist Attractions Ltd which runs several observation wheels in Australia and Europe including the Wheel of Belfast.

However, both the docklands authority and the council said they had no involvement in Mr Crosbie’s plans.

The authority said yesterday it had not approved Mr Crosbie’s scheme and was instead seeking tenders for its own observation wheel project which would be located either in George’s Dock or Custom House Quay, both of which are farther up the Liffey towards the city than the Point Village.

Dublin City Council has also had no involvement in Mr Crosbie’s project and has made no agreement in relation to hosting rock concerts in Point Square.

The docklands authority last April sought expressions of interest to build its wheel, which could be in excess of 80 metres high and could accommodate up to 500,000 visitors a year. An authority spokeswoman said the tender process was ongoing so she could not say whether World Tourist Attractions Ltd was one of the bidders.

The authority said last April that it hoped to have the structure by Christmas. However, the spokeswoman said yesterday that a date for its construction would not be determined until after the tender process was complete.

The wheel does not fit into any of the docklands planning schemes, known as section 25 schemes, which do not require planning permission. Both Mr Crosbie and the successful docklands authority candidate will have to apply to the city council for planning permission.