An Taisce calls for rejection of Johnny Ronan’s Dublin skyscraper

Developer has again appealed to An Bord Pleanála for 22-storey tower on Tara Street

National heritage body An Taisce has urged An Bord Pleanála not to approve developer Johnny Ronan's plans to build Dublin's tallest building on Tara Street.

Mr Ronan was last month refused permission by Dublin City Council, for a second time, to build a 22-storey tower overlooking the river Liffey opposite the Custom House.

The council said the proposed tower would have a “significantly detrimental impact due to its scale and bulk on the setting and character of the Custom House” and on views from as far away as Harcourt Street to the south, Lord Edward Street in Christchurch to the west and the Five Lamps on the North Strand.

Mr Ronan has in recent days appealed the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála on the grounds that the scheme complies with the council’s own development plan for the area, and has requested the board hold a public hearing on the proposal.


However, An Taisce said the board should uphold the council’s refusal and make particular note of the detrimental effect the tower would have on the “riverscape” and O’Connell Street.

“We submit that the holding of an oral hearing would be a waste of time and resources. There are no changes in circumstances in warranting a reconsideration of the refusal of the previous application,” it said.

Mr Ronan made his first attempt to secure permission for his tower in May 2017, but it was refused by the council in July last year because, it said, of the potential detrimental effect on most of the historic core of the city. He appealed to the board but it upheld the council’s decision against the recommendation of its own inspector, who said the scheme should be given the go-ahead.

Midtown plan

While the 88m high tower has now been refused three times, its height is permissible under the council’s plans for the area. The George’s Quay Local Area Plan, approved by councillors in 2012 to govern the creation of a new “midtown” for the city south of the Liffey to Pearse Street, and from Hawkins Street to Lombard Street, allows a 22m building.

The site was one of just four in the city earmarked for high-rise buildings, along with the docklands and Connolly and Heuston stations, under the Dublin City Development Plan approved last year.

Separately, the new owners of the Apollo House site, also on Tara Street, have refused to comment on whether they would be open to the use of the plot for the construction of an underground metro station.

Residents of the nearby College Gate apartment complex, which has been earmarked for demolition for the construction of an underground station for the MetroLink rail line, have called for site of the recently demolished Apollo House to be used instead.

The site was recently bought by Pat Crean's Marlet Property Group for more than €40 million. While the group has refused to comment on the metro station proposal, it is understood to want to build on the site ahead of the development of the metro, the construction of which is not due to start before 2021.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times