Residents challenge permission for 300 apartments in south Dublin

Case in Monkstown includes claims relating to bats and winter birds

A residents' association has brought a legal challenge aimed at overturning permission for 300 apartments and housing units in Monkstown in south Dublin.

The action is by Monkstown Road Residents' Association and three individual residents – James Barry, a retired Dublin city sheriff, of Richmond Park; Bairbre Stewart, a chartered accountant of Clifton Terrace; and Christopher Craig, a social entrepreneur, of Belgrave Terrace.

Alan Doyle BL, for the applicants, was granted leave by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys on Thursday to bring the judicial review proceedings over the permission granted by An Bord Pleanála last August.

The case was admitted to the court’s strategic infrastructure development list, which deals with proceedings concerning planning applications for strategic housing developments made directly to An Bord Pleanála under a fast-track procedure.


The judge returned the case, which is against the board, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the State and Irish Water, to November 19th for directions.

Last month, a separate challenge to the permission was brought by a company, Starrs Holdings Ltd.

Both challenges are aimed at overturning the permission granted to Lulani Dalguise Ltd to build eight blocks of apartments, ranging from five to nine storeys, and 22 houses on a 3.6 hectare site at Dalguise House. The house will be converted into two separate dwellings and a creche.

The Starrs challenge has also been returned for directions in two weeks.

After Niall Handy BL, for the company, told the judge on Thursday its grounds of challenge were very different to those advanced by the residents, the judge said decisions will be made later as to how both cases should be advanced in the SID list.

Habitats Directive

In the residents’ proceedings, they claim the permission is invalid over the board’s alleged failure to adequately state reasons and alleged errors in its application of provisions of the Habitats Directive.

The board, it is claimed, erred in screening out the proposed development for an Environmental Impact Assessment, contrary to the EIA directive, and in also screening out an Appropriate Assessment, contrary to Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, and had not properly applied provisions of a 2006 Directive on bathing water quality.

The board also erred in accepting the developer’s assertion that no wintering birds were found on the site when that assertion was based on a survey not carried out during the wintering bird season, it is claimed. The board further failed to properly consider the impact of the loss of the Dalguise gardens, it is argued.

Other claims include the board lacked sufficient scientific expertise to adequately, objectively and scientifically evaluate the proposal before it and failed to carry out an independent scientific review for the purposes of article 12 of the Habitats Directive.

The board, it is claimed, failed to ensure the proposed development would prevent deliberate disturbance of bats and deterioration or destruction of their breeding sites or resting places when the “clear evidence” of the developer was that it would do so.

The board erred in having regard to an allegedly invalid derogation licence issued by the Minister for removal of a beech tree containing a bat roost, it is claimed.

The board, it is further claimed, failed to have proper regard to the relevant area development plan and architectural heritage guidelines and failed to determine the curtilage of Dalguise house. Other grounds concern the board’s interpretation of building-height guidelines and its approach to a material contravention of the development plan in relation to the height of the development.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times