Hundreds rally against St Anne's complex plans
Frustrated north Dublin locals gathered yesterday to protest plans to develop an apartment complex on lands near St Anne's Park.
Hundreds joined the Hands Around The Park campaign held in opposition to an application submitted to An Bord Pleanala by developer Crekav.
Crekav is seeking permission to build 657 apartments on the site beside St Paul's College, adjacent to the park.
Among the protesters was concerned resident Nora Rice, who fears the development will worsen traffic and further overcrowd public transport in the area.
"Traffic is already crazy. There's two very big developments going into Coolock - the Chivers site and in front of Chanel [college]," she told the Herald.
"I'm concerned about overcrowding on public transport. I have two kids that go to school in town and one of them said on Tuesday that the Dart was dangerously overcrowded.
"She said it was a sardine situation. You put another nearly 700 apartments in there, how are they all going to get into town?
"They're just making money - that's all that's about."
Artane woman Doreen Shanley said the land should be used as football pitches for the local school and GAA club, and fears that building will cause the park to flood.
"There's more houses being built in Coolock and other areas so there's more people that will need this park," she said.
"I think there's plenty of land available to build on, and I think they're choosing it because they'd get a better price.
"The apartments on Sybil Hill Road are out of most people in the area's price range. These apartments are going to be the same.
"There's no pitches, there's nowhere for the children to play.
"They were great playing pitches and they should be used for what they are.
"As well as that, Nanekin stream here in the back, it's now nearly in full flow all winter because everything is being built on.
"That land soaks the water, it prevents floods. If they build on that, they'll push it further down. The pitches will get water sodden.
"It's just a profit-driven development. Lord Ardilaun, who gave Stephen's Green to Dublin, would be rolling in his grave."
Local residents and members of the Seafield Strollers Walking Club, Maureen Bourke and Aine Dubslaine, visit the park every Saturday.
The group said the "big concrete block" proposals would ruin the scenery if given the go-ahead.
"We all walk every Saturday; we're part of the Seafield Strollers. It's going here for years, and we walk all around the perimeter of St Anne's every single Sunday, then we go for coffee," Ms Bourke said.
"This field, it would be absolutely terrible to be taken over by these high-rise apartments; absolutely terrible.
"It would be overlooking the whole place. Could you imagine with the height of the trees with the big concrete block up there. Terrible."
Ms Dubslaine said the proposals would not relieve Dublin's housing crisis as only those who could afford to pay high rent would live there.
"This is not going to be social housing, this is going to be owned by developers. It will only be people with plenty of money who can buy or rent them," she said.
"That land was given by Lord Ardilaun and they've sold the swimming pool already; now they're going to sell the playing fields for housing.
"Where are the children in the school going to play football? What about the GAA club and the geese?"
Plans by Crekav to develop 104 houses and 432 apartments on lands in Raheny were initially granted by An Bord Pleanala through the fast-track Strategic Housing Development system.
However, following a case taken by the community, the High Court ordered the board to reconsider its decision as fears grew concerning protected brent geese, which feed on short grass on the site. It then overturned its original decision before the new application.