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Plans submitted for large mosque centre in Blanchardstown

Development would include three-storey mosque, community centre and private school

The proposed design for the site of Warrenstown House, a former HSE site in Blanchardstown.
Dr Taufiq Al Sattar speaking after the loss of his wife, daughter and teenage sons in a severe fire at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester. Photograph: Matthew Cooper/PA Wire

A Muslim community group has sought planning permission to build what would be one of the largest mosques in Ireland on a site at Blanchardstown in west Dublin.

Dr Taufiq al-Sattar of the Shuhada Foundation of Ireland is behind the development on the Blanchardstown Road North Corduff, which is expected to cost tens of millions of euro.

The Dublin-based neurosurgeon pledged to build the mosque in memory of his late wife Shehnila Taufiq who died along with their daughter Zainab (19), and sons Bilal (17) and Jamal (15) in an arson attack in Leicester, England, in September 2013.

The planning application, lodged with Fingal County Council, seeks permission to build a three-storey mosque, a large community centre, and a private primary school on the site of Warrenstown House, a former HSE facility.

“My late wife’s vision, was not only to have a mosque, but to have a community centre as well, for all the community,” Dr al-Sattar said.

Young people

The centre will include a halal food store and restaurant, a sports hall and a five-a-side football pitch which he hopes can bring young people from different faiths, and none, together.

“We will also hold inter-faith dialogues in the centre, to bring different communities and faiths together, this is what we all need in the current world and climate,” he said.

Earlier plans for the development were deemed “very ambitious” by Fingal County Council, and the local authority sought that the scale of the plans be reduced.

Plans to build a secondary school on the site was left out of the redesigned proposal submitted to the council last month. The local authority also requested the mosque be given “greater prominence” in the redesigned plans, according to planning documentation.

There is understood to be strong support to give the development the green light within the local authority.

‘Backyard mosques’

The Shuhada Foundation already runs a mosque and small private Muslim primary school in the Warrenstown House building. The planning application for the site says there are a large number of “backyard mosques” and prayer rooms in non-sacred, ordinary buildings in Ireland.

The new purpose-built mosque will be financed from Dr al-Sattar’s family fund, his life savings, and donations from the Muslim community in Leicester.

He also has plans to fundraise among the medical community in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where he has worked as a neurosurgeon in the past.

One local resident submitted an objection to the development of the Islamic mosque and community centre, stating the tall minaret tower on the mosque would be “visually obtrusive” to the surrounding area.

Some 63,400 people recorded their religion as Islam in last year’s census. The only other purpose built mosques in Ireland are in Clonskeagh in south Dublin, and Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo.