Week long hearing concludes on Hellfire Club development

by Padraig Conlon

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]A week long Bord Pleanala oral hearing regarding the development of the Hellfire Club on Montpelier Hill ended this week.

South Dublin County Council want to build a visitor centre and triple visitor numbers at the site to 300,000 a year.

The proposed development would include a panoramic café, exhibition space, a ramblers lounge, toilets, changing facilities, a shop and education centre.

The council’s plans however have led to furious objections from many local residents, politicians and the Save The Hellfire group.

People Before Profit TD for Dublin Mid-West Gino Kenny, who took part in the oral submission last Tuesday (20th November) told Dublin Gazette: “I spoke with regard to the bio diversity and transport issues involved and overall this is not a good project for that area.

“I’m all for people utilising the Dublin mountains but this project would be highly detrimental.

“The intense volume of traffic this would bring to what is a very, very, small road would be difficult to manage.

“The council say it’s a “gateway” to the Dublin mountains but this is not credible, it’s the wrong location for that.

“It’s difficult to say how An Bord Pleanala will decide this, hopefully the project will be rejected.”

Grainne Corcoran from Save the Hellfire Group said: “As we have clearly stated from the start this €15m+ proposal is overscaled and inappropriately located.

“In order to secure planning permission SDCC and Coillte would have to get the EU to throw out the Habitats Directive.

“This white elephant is endangered thanks to 20,000 petitioners, local businesses and community groups who came together under Save the Hellfire.

“We look forward to the decision which is expected early 2019.”

The council outlined its application at the start of the oral hearing last week.

Paul Keogh, an architect for South Dublin Council, said something has to be done to protect the site due to an expected increase in visitor numbers in the next decade.

“The projected growth in the population of Dublin and visitors to the city will of itself result in an exponential increase in the number of visitors to the Dublin Mountains in the decades ahead,” he said.

“A do-nothing scenario is therefore not sustainable.”

Preservation work would be carried out on a number of national monuments in the area including the Hellfire Club itself. He said the council’s policy is to do “as much as necessary and as little as possible”.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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