County manager seeks approval to spend €7m on projects in advance of departure

Funds will help develop berthing for super-cruisers and refurbish Victorian house

On his final day in office this Monday the outgoing county manager of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council is to seek approval to spend more than €7 million on various projects, including the development of berthing for super-cruisers in Dún Laoghaire harbour.

Owen Keegan, who will take up his post as Dublin city manager on Tuesday, will seek to cement his seven-year legacy in the county by ensuring funding for certain projects is secured before his departure.

Cruise ships
In a report to Dún Laoghaire councillors in advance of Monday's meeting, Mr Keegan said 12 cruisers had called at Dún Laoghaire this year, bringing 27,000 visitors, and Irish ports had attracted 220 cruise calls in 2012. But Dublin was missing out because neither the city's port nor Dún Laoghaire could accept ships of more than 300m in length.

The council had been assisting Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company in developing the port as a destination for cruise ships, he said, and the next stage would involve developing plans for a new cruise facility and applying directly to An Bord Pleanála for planning permission through the strategic infrastructure development process. The cost of the plan is €650,000 and Mr Keegan is to seek approval for the council to contribute €250,000.


The manager has also told councillors he wants approval for an accelerated grant of €60,000 for the Mill Theatre in Dundrum. He said the community theatre was in financial difficulties.

He will also ask councillors to approve a €4 million advance to DLR Properties Ltd. The company is owned by the council and holds property in Cherrywood Science and Technology Park. It has requested the funds to complete and refurbish an office block there.

Chairwoman of the company Pam Kearney said the office block had no potential to provide a return in the absence of the works. Once the work is completed, rental income is estimated at up to €387,000 annually.

Victorian house
Approval is also sought to set aside €450,000 to refurbish Moran Park House and develop it into a design centre. The two-storey Victorian property overlooking the harbour is a protected structure and is currently being used as a site office for the new central library and cultural centre in Moran Park.

Mr Keegan is also seeking approval to spend €100,000 to expand a pedestrian bridge over the Dart, €100,000 to complete works at the Metals area and an additional €100,000 for a wifi pilot project in Marlay Park, Cabinteely Park and in Dún Laoghaire.

He will seek to set aside €200,000 for stonework repairs for the town hall, €1.6 million for the purchase of the Presentation Field in Glasthule and €210,000 for costs associated with the acquisition of lands at Shanganagh Castle in Shankill.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist