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Councillors condemn Desmond's 'Ballymun' tag on apartment plan

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Dermot Desmond

Dermot Desmond

Dermot Desmond

A number of Fine Gael councillors have criticised billionaire Dermot Desmond after he said a €338m apartment plan on former RTÉ lands was like "Ballymun Towers South Dublin".

The tag "creates a stigmatisation that is just completely unwarranted" for the development, according to Fine Gael councillor James Geoghegan.

Cllr Geoghegan was just one of a number of Fine Gael councillors to hit out at the Ballymun tag placed on the development by Mr Desmond.

An Bord Pleanála is due to make a decision on the plan next week after the High Court last Friday cleared the way for a decision to be made after rejecting a challenge by Mr Desmond's wife, Pat Desmond, and two other Ailesbury Road residents.

In a lengthy report, Dublin City Council planners have recommended to An Bord Pleanála that planning permission be granted.

However, elected members of the council are divided over the plan.

UNFORTUNATE

Mr Desmond wrote to councillors in June where he claimed that the 611-apartment plan is akin to "Ballymun Towers South Dublin".

Cllr Geoghegan - who is in favour of the Cairn Homes application - told the meeting that it was "very unfortunate" that Mr Desmond used the Ballymun phrase when referring to the development.

Cllr Geoghegan stated that Mr Desmond's letter contained "reasonable criticisms" of the Government fast track plan legislation under which the Project Montrose plan has been lodged.

Cllr Paddy McCartan also hit out at Mr Desmond's Ballymun comments.

Cllr McCartan said that it was a "pejorative reference" because Ballymun was built in the 1960s and made up of 36 blocks.

Cllr Danny Byrne described the reference to Ballymun as "incredible".

He said the development is one of the finest if not the finest development that Dublin has seen.

"It is an absolutely fantastic development in a brilliant location," he said.

However, Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said he has huge problems with the proposal in terms of height and wind tunnelling.

"There is a comparison between the development and the towers of Ballymun," he said.