Press Up shutters Mount Merrion cafe to make way for apartments

Original plans for the site faced significant opposition from residents in 2016

The Union Cafe, on the site of the former Kennedy’s pub, is at the corner of Deerpark Road and North Avenue in Mount Merrion. Photograph: Alan Betson

Developer Paddy McKillen Jnr’s Press Up hospitality group has closed its Union Cafe premises in Mount Merrion to make way for the development of a mixed-use scheme for which his Oakmount property vehicle received planning permission in 2018.

The cafe, on the site of the former Kennedy’s pub, is at the corner of Deerpark Road and North Avenue in the south Dublin suburb. It was permanently shuttered on October 30th, a sign posted in the window of the premises stated.

The Irish Times understands that Mr McKillen Jnr and his business partner Matt Ryan intend to progress plans for a mixed-use scheme on the site for which an Oakmount company received planning permission in 2018.

The cafe is adjacent to the former Flanagans furniture shop site, where Oakmount is separately in the process of delivering 100 luxury apartments.


Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council at the time gave the green light for the demolition of the existing four-storey structure on the Union Cafe site and its replacement by a three-storey pub and restaurant to be operated by Mr McKillen Jnr and Mr Ryan’s Press Up group as well 50 apartments.

That application was a scaled-down version of Oakmount’s previous plans, submitted in 2016, for a much larger mixed-use development on the site, permission for which was refused by the local authority and subsequently, An Bord Pleanála.

The original proposal faced stiff opposition from residents, with nearly 340 objections lodged against the plans.

Some 80 objections were also lodged against the scaled-down proposal but permission was ultimately granted by the council and An Bord Pleanála subsequently refused an appeal against the scheme lodged by a local resident.

John Kennedy, a Fine Gael councillor on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, said there was still some “unhappiness” within the community about the scale of the development but that there has been expectation in recent times that it would go ahead.

Last week Press Up agreed to sell a majority stake in the Dean Hotel Group to British property group Lifestyle Hospitality Capital and Elliott Investment Management, the New York alternative investment giant founded by billionaire activist investor Paul Singer.

The new investors are acquiring more than 70 per cent of the business in a deal that values it at more than €350 million, well above the €250 million estimate by market experts when it was put up for sale earlier this year, sources have said.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times