Arytza chief expresses Covid-19 concern over D4 co-living plan

Bartra Capital intends to build 111-bed shared co-living development in Ballsbridge

One of the country’s best paid chief executives is objecting to plans for a 111-bed shared co-living development in Ballsbridge.

Chief executive of Arytza Kevin Toland and his wife Aisling are opposing the five-storey Bartra Capital proposal for 98 Merrion Road.

In their one-page objection, the Tolands cite Covid-19 fears and urge Dublin City Council to "please reject this planning application".

“Covid-19 has struck every country in the world, the very nature of co-living would have the potential of spreading the virus even further. It could endanger the local community at large, ” said the Tolands.



“We were very surprised that a proposal of this nature would even be considered during a world-wide pandemic.”

Mr Toland was the second best paid chief executive working at an Irish publicly listed company last year. He received a total remuneration package of €4.2 million from the Cuisine de France company.

Documents lodged with the Bartra plan said the proposal has been designed to avoid overlooking neighbouring properties and to provide occupants with a high-quality indoor environment.

Those objecting to the plan also include former Irish Sugar chief and Ailesbury Road resident Chris Comerford, Dublin Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe and Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews.

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik and a group representing Shrewsbury Road residents have also lodged objections.

The Tolands claim the Bartra proposal “is a complete eyesore” and what is needed are family homes “more suitable for this area”.

In his objection, Mr Comerford said: “I live very close to this development and I am shocked at the scale of the proposal.”


In response to the Tolands' Covid-19 concerns, Bartra Capital chief executive Mike Flannery said an independent medical expert who has examined the Merrion Road plan has determined that in many respects the risks of [Covid-19] transmission would be less for residents of the Bartra proposal than for people living in a normal house or shared apartment.

Mr Flannery said the independent assessment found that the self-contained nature of the private suites dramatically reduces the risk of transmission of the virus and make suites ideal for self-isolation or quarantine if required.

Bartra confirmed that site works have already commenced at its shared co-living proposal on Eblana Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, and will be completed late next year.

The company expects site works to commence on its Rathmines shared co-living proposal in the first quarter of next year.

A decision by Dublin City Council is due on the Merrion Road proposal next week.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times