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Saturday 24 June 2017

Neighbours appeal tech millionaire's luxury home plans

Millionaire Ronan Rooney
Millionaire Ronan Rooney

Plans by tech millionaire Ronan Rooney to build a huge home on Dublin's exclusive Howth Head have been slammed by neighbours.

Mr Rooney co-owned Curam Software. The business was sold to IBM in 2011 for about €152m.

Mr Rooney and his wife bought a house and land at Long Acre in Howth last year. The property had been put up for sale with a €2.6m price tag.

Palatial

It had once been home to the late Tom McDonald, who owned the Big Tree pub on Dublin's Dorset Street before it was sold to hotelier Louis Fitzgerald.

The existing home on the three-acre Howth site was built in the 1920s but its layout did not take advantage of the sweeping views of Dublin Bay.

The site is set above the Baily, one of Ireland's oldest continuously-working lighthouses.

Mr Rooney and his wife submitted a planning application earlier this year to demolish the existing home on the site and replace it with a palatial 1,200sq m (13,000sq ft) property.

However, neighbours have appealed Fingal County Council's go-ahead for the project to An Bord Pleanala.

Banker Mirja Wenski and her husband have told the planning watchdog that the plans for the Rooneys' house will "negatively and significantly affect the objectives and policies of the planning authority".

They allege that there has been a "total failure" by the Rooneys "not only to respect the residential amenities of adjoining residents… but also the character and pattern of development already in the area".

Pilot Rick de Neve, husband of Be Sweet chocolate company founder Bernice Moran, has also objected, telling An Bord Pleanala the planned house is excessive in scale and will interfere with protected views.

Plans for the five-bedroom home include a swimming pool with changing rooms, a steam room, a large walled garden, gym, snooker room, a bar and a lift.

The house is adjacent to where broadcaster Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen used to live and two doors down from the mansion built by Riverdance duo Moya Doherty and John McColgan.

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