€150m development of iconic Clerys store facing new challenge
The treatment of former Clerys workers has led to the country's biggest union frustrating plans for the €150m redevelopment of the site.
In a rare intervention in the planning arena, Siptu has appealed against the decision by Dublin City Council to grant planning permission to OCS Properties. It has requested an oral hearing.
The city council gave the go-ahead last month for the transformation of the department store into a six-storey retail and office scheme.
It followed 67 objections, with unions and politicians backing the concerns of sacked Clerys workers.
The precinct plan, of 350,000 sq ft, also includes a 176-bedroom hotel linked by a bridge to the O'Connell Street building.
Documents lodged with the city council by OCS Properties show the so-called Project D1 would create 3,990 jobs.
Architects Henry J Lyons said the proposal "seeks to generate a vibrant quarter which will see the repair, restoration and regeneration of the Clerys building".
The move comes 19 months after the shock closure of the store after 162 years of trading. It resulted in 460 job losses.
"I'm delighted that Siptu has made an appeal to An Bord Pleanala. Our members spent many, many decades working in Clerys," said Justice for Clerys Workers spokesperson Gerry Markey, who worked at the store for 34 years.
"We all feel very connected to the building and believe it is our role to ensure its cultural significance to the people of Dublin, and the country, is properly preserved during its redevelopment.
"The plans we have seen unfortunately do not effectively achieve this aim.
"A public hearing into how this site can be developed in a manner which benefits the local community is essential. That is why as former Clerys workers we are supporting our union's call for a public hearing."
Siptu organiser Ethel Buckley said: "The Clerys site is a key one for our members, the people of Dublin and the historical character of the city."
The appeal states: "We are concerned with the loss of retail jobs and feel the planning objectives of this site as a key retail site in the shopping core area in favour of office requires a hearing."
A decision is due appeal in May.