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Plans for 14-storey apartment block on site of 1916 Rising leader’s former home in Dublin

Operators of Herbert Park Hotel demolished Michael Joseph O’Rahilly house in controversial circumstances in 2020

Plans for a 14-storey apartment block have been submitted for the site of 40 Herbert Park, the former home of Michael Joseph O’Rahilly, the only leader to have been killed fighting during the 1916 Rising.

Derryroe Ltd, a company owned by the McSharry and Kennedy families, who own the Herbert Park Hotel, demolished the Ballsbridge house in controversial circumstances in September 2020, when it was under consideration for addition to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS).

Dublin City Council took legal action against Derryroe and construction firm Pembroke Place Developments for “unauthorised demolition” of the house. The case was settled in November 2022 when Pembroke Place Developments accepted noncompliance with planning permission and was ordered to pay €3,000 to charity to avoid a court conviction.

Derryroe had in May 2020 applied to An Bord Pleanála for an apartment development on the site at 40 Herbert Park and a number of neighbouring properties. Councillors, heritage groups, relatives of 1916 leaders, including O’Rahilly’s grandson Proinsias Ó Rathaille, and local residents objected to the development, which included the demolition of the house.

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The council’s conservation office twice tried to assess whether the house merited addition to the RPS but was denied access. The council said solicitors for the developers “questioned the council’s right to interfere with property rights” or with the integrity of the planning process that was under way. However, the council told the solicitors it had an entitlement to pursue the RPS process.

On September 8th, 2020, the board granted permission for the development, including the demolitions, subject to conditions. The councillors voted to add the building to the RPS a week later. The house was demolished a fortnight later, but the council said this occurred before the conditions of the planning permission had been satisfied.

The complex of 103 apartments and 10 aparthotel bedrooms in blocks up to 12 storeys was granted under the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process where large-scale residential applications were made directly to the board, bypassing the local authority planning process.

The SHD system has since been scrapped and replaced by the large-scale residential development (LRD) process, a return to the system were applications are made to the local authority, and can be appealed to the board.

The 2020 complex remains unbuilt and Derryroe has submitted an LRD to the council seeking to add two more storeys to allow it to develop a 14-storey tower on the site, but the number of apartments will not increase. Submissions on the new plans can be made to the council until February 19th.

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