Retired judge claims Blackrock build-to-rent scheme ‘will wreck the place’

Bartra scheme would ‘cause chaos’ in area, Patrick J McMahon and Ann McMahon claim

A retired judge has claimed that a planned five-storey, 39-unit build-to-rent scheme for Blackrock in south Dublin “will create chaos in the area” and “will wreck the place”.

In a strident objection to plans for a ‘later living’ scheme by Richard Barrett’s Bartra, Patrick J McMahon told Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Council that “the height of the building is outrageous”.

He noted that there was “no similar height in the area”.

The scheme proposed for Woodlands Park, Blackrock, is aimed at ageing members of the community and comes complete with two rooftop hot tubs.

With an address at Mount Merrion Avenue, Mr McMahon and Ann McMahon told the council: “This is a quiet, secluded residential area. The development will create chaos in the area.”

Mr McMahon, who turns 79 this year, retired as a district court judge in 2013 and was subsequently appointed by government in 2014 to the role of confidential recipient for gardaí and gave evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal concerning his role. He served as a judge in district courts in the Dublin and Meath-Louth areas.

In the objection, Mr McMahon signs himself off as “Judge Patrick McMahon” and the objection is made with Judge Patrick J McMahon headed notepaper complete with the State ‘harp’ and an address at the Four Courts along with the couple’s address on Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock.

The objection is one of 25 lodged against the scheme by local residents.


In their one-page objection, the McMahons note that “the developer is stating that this is a development for older people. At the same time, they claim to be putting in 64 bicycle spaces. This is blatantly contradictory.”

They further state: “If these type of schemes are allowed, residential areas will be destroyed. Woodlands Park is a magnificent area and this scheme will wreck the place.”

The McMahons conclude their objection by stating: “Magnificent properties in the immediate area will be overlooked. This includes Woodlands Park, Grove Avenue, Mount Merrion and Priory.”

Bartra already has planning permission for 26 units on the site.

In a separate objection, Dr Thomas B Courtney and Aileen Hughes Courtney contend that the “age-friendly concept” scheme is “a badly disguised attempt by Bartra to increase the density of their development at all costs”.

The pair – also with a Mount Merrion Avenue address – state that the bid by Bartra to increase the density of the scheme by 50 per cent when fully aware of the objections of local residents to the earlier proposal “is nothing short of disrespectful and thumbing their noses at those whom they have chosen to visit with their unwanted development”.

According to documentation lodged with the proposal, Bartra Property Ltd stated that the so-called age-friendly concept "is to provide high-quality, specialist, age-appropriate housing for older people close to their existing communities, promoting vibrant retirement communities where people can enjoy a healthier and more active retirement".

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times