Northside residents protest over plans for housing in St Anne’s Park
Hundreds turn out to oppose plans to build houses on historic grounds
A section of the crowd that turned up to protest against the application to build 536 residential units on the St Paul’s playing fields at St Anne’s Park, Raheny, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The order are the trustees of St Paul’s College, Raheny which uses the land as playing pitches.
The developer is also proposing to build two new all-weather pitches, which can be converted into three, to replace the playing pitches currently on the site.
The proposals are currently before An Bord Pleanála as all developments over 100 units are referred straight to it under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016.
Residents, including many children and elderly people, staged a protest on Sunday opposite the land where the proposed development is due to take place.
A community group, I Love St Anne’s, has been set up to oppose the development.
Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin encouraged residents to write to An Bord Pleanála opposing the development before February 5th, the deadline for submissions.
“We will make sure he reflects the views of the 15 local councillors who are all against this development,” Senator Ó Ríordáin said.
Protester Paul Coffey, a local resident, said it was not acceptable to build beside a public park.
“The plan is incorrect. Everything is inadequate. The space can’t take any more people in here. This is not an issue for the rich building for the homeless. It is the rich building for the rich.”
Mona Nolan said the development was “obnoxious to say the least. This park is listed as one of the 10 best parks in Europe”.
The Vincentian Fathers sold six hectares (15 acres) at the north-west end of the park for a reported €17 million in November 2015.
The land had once been part of the St Anne’s Estate owned by the Guinness family and was acquired by compulsory purchase order by Dublin Corporation in the 1940s.
The council later sold a portion of the land to the Vincentian Fathers to be used as playing pitches for St Paul’s College.
The land is currently still used for pitches and is also being used by local sports clubs in the area including Clontarf GAA Club and Clontarf FC. Both clubs oppose the proposed development.