St Pat’s FC forge ahead with plans despite Minister’s housing proposal

By Maurice Garvey

ST PATRICK’S Athletic FC have vowed to keep their proposal for a new stadium and town centre at the former site of St Michael’s Estate alive, despite confirmation that 472 houses will be built instead.

On Monday, there were awkward scenes when Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy clashed with colleague Catherine Byrne TD during the announcement of the plan for the site, including 330 cost-rental and the remainder social housing.

Richmond Arena

An artist impression of the plans 

Deputy Byrne, who lives in Inchicore, asked if anyone from the community was consulted about the plans.

She raised concerns that people originally from the area still won’t be able to afford them and they would go to people outside the area.

Later in the week, Minister Murphy denied that affordable homes in schemes such as Inchicore would be reserved for those with essential careers including nurses and teachers.

In April, St Pat’s announced plans for a major development to include a 12,000 seat stadium, new homes and town centre with state-of-the art retail, leisure and community facilities.

St Pat’s Club President Tom O’Mahoney said Monday’s announcement represented a “huge missed opportunity” citing their own plans which would deliver 520 homes on two sites – St Michael’s and Richmond Park – rather than one site.

In a detailed statement, Mr O’Mahoney said the club intend to engage fully in the public consultation process.

Widespread support

“Since our proposal was published we have been very encouraged by the widespread support which it received in the local community and from many public representatives who have a deep understanding  of Inchicore and its needs.

“The reasons which were given for rejecting our proposal, such as, for example, that it would require variations to the Dublin City Development Plan, are issues which could be resolved if there was a willingness to accept that the benefits of our proposal far exceed those of the alternative.

"Indeed, we have discussed earlier versions of our proposal with the city council, at the highest level, on a number of occasions over the past decade, and until now they were always supportive and did not raise any difficulties in relation to the development planning aspects.

“We have a responsibility to the local community to continue to pursue our proposal, which can be compatible with the housing objectives.”

St Pat’s plans to deliver an independent retail study of their proposed development to City Council.

Earlier in the week, the club appealed to supporters of the proposal not to protest outside the homes of local politicians, as it would “not help our cause”.

Ultimately, Dublin City Council has to give its approval for any such proposal at the site.

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