Nursing home on mountains gets go ahead
COUNCILLORS have voted to allow construction of a nursing home in one of the most picturesque areas of the Dublin Mountains.
Local politicians elected to rezone scenic lands to pave the way for the development that opponents fear will ruin the character of the scenic foothills.
Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Council voted last night in favour of the controversial move that allows for the construction of a nursing home on the lands near Stepaside.
The vote came during a marathon final debate on the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Development Plan.
The site is on undeveloped lands with scenic mountain views at Ticknock on the west side of the Enniskerry Road in south county Dublin.
The rezoning was passed with 15 councillors in favour, nine against and two abstentions. Other key votes were deferred until today, when the debate was due to resume.
One of the Ticknock rezoning's opponents, Cllr Lettie McCarthy, said the decision was "nothing short of disgraceful".
"I think this is a further rape of the mountainside," Cllr McCarthy (Lab) said. "I am all for the development of a nursing home, but in a suitable area, next to other facilities. These are virgin lands. I am hugely disappointed with this vote, and with the level of debate. It was hardly discussed at all, it was as if they had already made their minds up.
"The mountains are part of our natural heritage, to build up into them is nothing short of disgraceful."
Among the remaining issues to be decided today is a proposal for the relocation of a private girls' school.
A Special Local Objective is to be sought for Rosemount Girls' School to be moved to a site next to Fernhill Estate, a heritage garden that has already been subject of a controversial and unsuccessful attempt at rezoning.
A proposal to rezone Fernhill Estate failed to get approval at discussions last year, when the councillor who proposed it withdrew it before a vote.
A motion to rezone 70 acres at the foot of the Dublin Mountains was withdrawn by Fine Gael Councillor Jim O'Leary. Fernhill contains a large historic garden that is open to the public.
Cllrs O'Leary and Barry Ward (FG) had tabled the motion to allow for a development which would include a public park, development of the historic house, a garden design and cookery school and housing.
The proposal, from developer David Arnold, was opposed by county manager Owen Keegan and by Minister for the Environment John Gormley.
None of the councillors spoke in favour and Mr O'Leary agreed to withdraw the motion due to lack of support.