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Johnny Ronan appeal to Taoiseach on tower height falls on deaf ears

RGRE chief asked Government ministers for help in dispute with Dublin City Council

Developer Johnny Ronan wrote to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and several other members of the Cabinet on May 1st last

When global tech giant Salesforce announced its intention last January to deliver 1,500 jobs at its new European headquarters in Dublin’s docklands, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hailed it as a “huge boost” for the area and a “real vote of confidence in Ireland”.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was equally effusive, expressing his delight that Salesforce was expanding in his Dublin Central constituency, while Minister for Business Heather Humphreys noted the Government’s “strenuous efforts to ensure the right conditions were in place to meet the demands of leading global companies such as Salesforce.”

Who knew then that such a furore would ensue between developer Johnny Ronan and Dublin City Council in relation to the proposed height of Salesforce’s new offices?

As the clock ticks down towards an end-of-May deadline Ronan says must be met for the addition of extra floors to the building’s structure to be possible, the matter of whether Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s easing of restrictions on building heights should apply to Salesforce Tower is the subject of a judicial review.

And while Ronan and Salesforce await the determination of the High Court, it would appear that our most senior politicians are adopting a definite hands-off approach. The Taoiseach and his ministerial colleagues might plead that their hands are tied when it comes to intervening in the planning process, while it’s fair to say that Johnny Ronan is probably fit to be tied judging by the letter he sent to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy on May 1st .

Expressing his annoyance at Dublin City Council’s seeming refusal to follow the building height guidelines set by the Minister, the developer implored Mr Murphy to intervene in the Salesforce Tower debacle, saying: “We need your help to do it before it is too late.”

In a further illustration of his frustration, the developer copied the letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Business Minister Heather Humphreys, and Tourism Minister Shane Ross.

Ronan also made sure to make Dublin City Council aware of his displeasure, by copying the letter to both its chief executive Owen Keegan and head of planning, Richard Shakespeare.

It’s understood that the developer’s letter has, to date, been met with nothing more than the usual cursory acknowledgment of receipt from its recipients.