GAA legend Redmond attacks 'horrifying' park development
GAA legend Charlie Redmond has described the potential loss of popular sports pitches to make way for 500 new homes in north Dublin as "absolutely horrifying".
Redmond is among thousands of people who are opposing the planned development at St Paul's College, Raheny, adjacent to St Anne's Park.
The controversial project will ultimately lead to the demise of the site's playing fields, which are utilised by many clubs.
"There are young lads from primary school all the way to senior football and rugby that use these pitches on a daily basis," he said.
"When you go to the park there are always hundreds of people walking their dogs, using it for sporting purposes or just enjoying its surroundings. It is for this reason I would hate to see any development on this fantastic amenity."
Crekav Trading, which submitted the application, intends to replace the playing pitches with a gym and two outdoor all-weather pitches.
However, objectors believe it will not be nearly enough to cater for the hundreds of schoolchildren in the area. Mr Redmond, who hails from the Northside, added that there are plenty of more suitable sites for the proposed 536 residential units.
"There's enough areas in the city that would certainly benefit from this type of accommodation but building them in a recreational area would be absolutely horrifying," he said.
"I've trained football teams on these pitches in the past and know how important they are to the community. It would be a travesty to put more housing into an area that needs as much green space as possible."
Last month, ex-Ireland rugby captain and Clontarf native Fiona Coghlan told the Herald that she believed the development would have a "disastrous impact" on local sports clubs.
The Dublin athlete was among thousands of people who gathered at St Anne's Park at the end of January to protest against the new homes.
Senator Aodhan O Riordain, who organised the demonstration, recently came under fire from the developer who accused him and others of spreading "misinformation".
Crekav's application states that the two floodlit all-weather pitches can be reconfigured as three when required. It also points out that the synthetic surface will allow more use than the grass fields.
The company is spending €5m, which is the subject of a separate planning application.
A petition has been launched, which will be forwarded to the Dublin City Council's chief executive Owen Keegan.
He has until February 26 to make his own observations and recommendations to the board.