Wednesday 26 October 2016

Justice Minister loses bid to halt opening of new Asian restaurant

Frances Fitzgerald
Frances Fitzgerald

JUSTICE Minister Frances Fitzgerald has lost her bid to stop an Asian restaurant opening in west Dublin.

In February, Ms Fitzgerald launched an appeal to An Board Pleanala in an attempt to prevent a Mao restaurant from opening in Lucan.

She opposed the planning, which would see a 'change of use' from a former book store to a takeaway ancillary unit in a shopping centre on the Newcastle Road.

A group of parents from two nearby schools also joined the Lucan TD in protesting against the eatery, out of fear for their children's health.

After hearing that the unit would house a Mao restaurant, Ms Fitzgerald still objected on the grounds that the site could later house a fast food restaurant.


However, this month the planning board unanimously decided that the unit could go ahead, with a number of conditions.

Ms Fitzgerald said that she had "serious concerns" following the decision.

She said that she would have "no difficulty" with the Mao restaurant opening, "as I feel their stores are well-run and do not target schoolchildren as customers", but she felt the unit could still become a fast food restaurant in the future.

"It is important to note that the planning permission sought was not explicitly for a Mao restaurant," she said.

"There remains serious local concerns that if Mao did not take the premises, or if they did and subsequently closed, then another outlet could open, leading to a realisation of residents' and parents' original concerns," she said.

A number of conditions were put into the granted permission, including the clause that any business that is operating in the unit would only be allowed to open between 9am and midnight.

The board found that the proposed restaurant would not have an impact on "the vitality or viability of the Lucan shopping centre", as argued by some residents.

It also found that the proximity of the school was not part of the selection process in identifying the site.

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