Spencer Dock locals blast council over on-going construction misery

by Gazette Reporter
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Reporting by Rachel D’Arcy and Padraig Conlon

Residents of a Docklands community have lashed out against Dublin City Council (DCC) as they continue to endure ongoing construction misery.

Several houses in the Spencer Dock area of the city have erected banners on their home, condemning 21 years of local development.

A resident who has been living in his current home since 1992, but has lived in the area since the 1970s, says that no TD or council member has knocked on the doors of the residents displaying the banners on their homes, which have been on display for two years, to ask about what’s going on.

Tony McDonnell told Dublin Gazette that local residents have run out of patience, and that their neighbourhood has become an on-going building site.

He said: “It’s been non-stop with one building development after another. We’ve had the Spencer Dock apartments, the Luas, the Central Bank, and now this.

“I’d imagine no other residents in Europe have had to deal with this amount of construction work and none would tolerate it either. Nobody is listening to us, nobody cares, we have run out of patience.

“I’ve been living in this house since 1992, and lived a few hundred yards away since the 1970s. Why should I have to move?”

Under standard construction laws, works are generally restricted to beginning at 7am, and finishing at 11pm.

However, in Spencer Dock, DCC has given permission for construction in the area to deviate from such standard starting and finishing times under a derogation order, which allows builders a temporary exemption from usual planning laws.

As there are so many developments in the area at present, McDonnell says that when one derogation order ends, another begins, meaning construction work at anti-social hours is consistent in the area.

McDonnell said: “What is happening is, for example, Builder A is getting a derogation order to do three nights until midnight.

“Then Builder B is getting one for three nights, and then Builder C, and so on – with the result that loads of them are doing work non-stop from 7am until midnight. They’re just steamrollering ahead.

“We’ve tried talking to the council – they have done absolutely nothing, they don’t care.

“Two weeks ago, we had to put in a complaint about this to DCC. All the council did to penalise [the builders] was to not grant them another derogation order for two weeks.”

Members of the local community also fear that families may be forced out by rising rents and say there is a serious lack of amenities for those living in the Docklands area.

McDonnell said there is also a fear that existing homes will lose their sunlight this summer, as a new block of apartments comes to completion.

“We have at least another four to five years of this [building work] to deal with. The biggest issue for us is we are going to lose our light. When those apartments are finished, we won’t get any sun, only darkness, shade and cold.

“When we made our submissions to the council [against the development], we explained that the loss of light we will experience is like putting six or seven houses on the pitch at Croke Park.

“Four houses here are already in darkness. The clock is ticking for us, [and it looks like] we will lose our light sometime this summer.”

When contacted by Dublin Gazette, a spokesperson said: “Dublin City Council is currently engaging with all stakeholders in relation to this site.

“We cannot comment on any cases that are on-going.”

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