Action group to contest route

by Gazette Reporter

DONABATE and Portrane residents intend to form an action group to oppose the use of their village as a construction traffic route during work on the National Forensic and Mental Health Hospital in Portrane.
The new facility, to be built on the site of St Ita’s Hospital, will when completed house patients currently living in the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum.
Residents are not opposed to the hospital but want an alternative route built through Ballymastone to minimise congestion and the damage that heavy vehicles will cause to their roads.
Numerous submissions were made to the planning board by residents, community groups and politicians imploring it to require the HSE to construct an alternative route, but permission was granted without this stipulation.
Speaking to The Gazette, Anna Kiernan, secretary of Donabate Portrane Community Council, said the community felt very let down by both the HSE and An Bord Pleanala.
She said: “We put in quite a lot of effort making submissions. It cost us a lot of money that we had to raise locally. We really hoped that the HSE and An Bord Pleanala would listen to our feedback, but it seems to have been dismissed. They didn’t take any of the community’s concerns on board; they were completely ignored.”
Following a community meeting this week, she added, they have decided to form an action group comprising representatives from multiple community groups from the area who made submissions.
“We are now looking to put together a formal structure and then come up with an action plan, to see what we can actually do, and what is feasible,” she said.
One option available is to look for a judicial review – this must be done within eight weeks, however, and is a very costly procedure.
Kiernan said that as the groups are run on a voluntary basis it is unlikely they will be able to fund such a review.
Cllrs Paul Mulville (Ind) and Adrian Henchy (FF), who were both heavily involved in the campaign, have expressed their disappointment with the decision not to construct an alternative route.
Cllr Mulville said it was a sad day for local democracy and an indictment of the planning process under the Government’s Strategic Infrastructure Bill.
The decision amounted to “a scandalous disregard by the board of the concerns and views of the local community”, he said.
Cllr Henchy said: “There is absolutely no recognition whatsoever to the significant amount of submissions made from all sectors of our local community, including our local planning authority and our elected representatives.”
He added that the community’s options were now very limited.

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