Permission granted for Swords Islamic centre

by Sylvia Pownall
Swords Islamic Centre

Planning permission for an Islamic prayer and cultural centre in Rathbeale, Swords has been granted by Fingal County Council.

Members of the 300-strong Muslim community in the North County capital sought renewal of a 2016 decision allowing a former An Post sorting office to be converted.

An initial application for the single-storey building on the green just off the Rathbeale Road was approved in late November, 2015, on the basis it would need to be renewed in two years’ time.

The initial application drew more than a dozen objections from residents who raised concerns over traffic. An appeal to An Bord Pleanala in April, 2016 was unsuccessful.

At that time, the planning appeals board granted permission – against the advice of its own inspector, who warned of increased traffic congestion on a secluded residential area.

The new plans were submitted in May and approved a month later. Two residents objected, reiterating concerns over the potential increase in traffic.

Muslim residents in Swords currently pray each Friday in a rented GAA club hall. The new centre would host daily prayers, Islamic classes for children and cultural events.

It is not intended to extend the existing building but to carry out alterations to the internal layout and make minor alterations to the external elevations, partial demolition of the existing storage sheds and carry out associated works.

Swords resident Tariq Salahuddin, who was behind the original application to convert the old An Post building, said the new Islamic centre would be open “in a matter of months” if the decision is not appealed to An Bord Pleanala.

He said the Muslim community does not have sufficient funds to redevelop the site into a mosque with a full minaret. Funding for the works to fit out the centre will be raised among the local Muslim community.

The planning file states the centre will provide a space for Muslims and non-Muslims to interact. Mr Salahuddin added: “All Irish people will be welcome.”

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