I just thought i'd reproduce the Kevin Myers article that Dunne mentions in his letter,
because he is spot on with this ................plus i think he was reading my mind:D
The Dublin of Ulysses is dead: up with brave Dunne's high rise
By Kevin Myers
Tuesday June 26 2007
WHAT is the great, unspoken hope that fills so many Dublin hearts? What ambition unites lefties, vegans, city councillors, bankers, accountants, surgeons, barristers, street sweepers, GAA officials and left-handed lesbians?
It is that Sean Dunne, the property developer who paid three hundred zillion Kruger Rand for Jury's Hotel in Ballsbridge and who wants to build a complex of high towers there, fails totally. Well, I hope he succeeds.
I don't know the fine detail of his plans and so won't comment on them, but I do know that Dublin has run out of room. The city cannot continue to expand west until it reaches the Shannon. Commuters notionally living on the outskirts of the city are already having to travel up to two hours to work each way. This is neither sustainable nor civilised.
But most of all, there is absolutely no reason why the ludicrously inflated property prices of Dublin 4 and 6 should continue to be sustained by the artificial shortages created by state limitations on vertical development.
On the other hand, no one likes property developers. They simply buy some land and then sell it on for five times the price they paid for it. We could all do that, couldn't we? Well, we could if we could: and the "if" there is about the same size as the same word in the sentence: "If Chad put a hippopotamus on the moon."
The truth is that most of us can't think like property developers. Most men, it is said, cannot multitask, but I'd guess property developers do. Because there are so many dimensions to developing land: financial, legal, political, engineering, artistic, architectural, and perhaps most of all, temporal.
For property developers have to possess an acute sense of time: they must imagine what is possible over what period, and what other, simultaneous events might affect the value of their investment. Most of all, property developers either have to have bottomless reserves of courage, or simply be unacquainted with the meaning of fear. I do not know Sean Dunne, so I do not know whether he is either brave or fearless, but the outcome is the same. Almost alone, he is taking on the most powerful and influential lobby in Ireland: L'Arrondisement Pont de Balle.
In doing this, he is confronting a central truth: the Dublin of Ulysses is dead. That cosy city of the Bloomsday peregrination exists only in the memory of the Joycean pilgrims: the customers in the pubs they so reverentially visit speak Ukrainian and have never heard of Joyce.
Dublin is no longer a city with a single ethos, sustained by a homogenous group memory, populated by universally known names: Maureen Potter, Brendan Grace, Noel Purcell, Brendan Behan et alia. Those days are gone for ever. The authentic Cockney is just about extinct and the true Dub is similarly destined.
It is a difficult concept to swallow, but swallow it we must. We cannot bottle the new Dublin in the geography of the old Dublin. It is not possible, and it is certainly not moral. For by attempting to do that, we are creating intolerable commuting problems for the people who, though staffing the city centre's economy, have to live in some hideous, characterless Bantustan, two counties away.
The only solution is to build up, which is where Sean Dunne wants to hoist Dublin 4. There is nowhere else to go.
Now, he is a brave man to joust with the vested interests of Dublin 4, which, when known as Pembroke Ward, was a privileged, self-governing entity, whose servants - rather obligingly - lived elsewhere, in tenement townships.
Those instincts of lordly Pembrokian autonomy still linger on in the region's atoms, and have been bestirred into a molecular frenzy by Sean Dunne's development proposals for the Jury's site. And though this campaign is entirely self-serving, it has of course, donned the mantle of environmentalist concern.
Yet bizarrely, Ballsbridge's campaign to protect its insane property values has won allies across the city.
Why? There are, I suspect, two main reasons.
The first is a nostalgia for a fictional Dublin, one that subsists, largely on life-support, in city councillor imaginations. The second is perhaps the last surviving relic of that old Dublin, namely small-minded begrudgery.
A lot of people bitterly resent a property developer who has daring, courage, vision and enterprise. So, put those latter qualities together in the begrudgeryblender, and out comes the word "greed", the morally satisfying denunciation which trips with equal ease from the lips of both the sleek Ballsbridgian barrister protecting the value of his house, and the gaunt, socialist pamphleteer with his gluepot, spouting Marxist gibberish.
Sean Dunne has shown the way to the future. Dublin, including Ballsbridge, will go up. That is certain. The only question is when. Sorry, that is not the only question.
The other one is this: when will the IRFU abandon its utterly sentimental and financially insane attachment to Lansdowne Road? Because when those acres are liberated for useful, year-round economic activity, Dublin 4 will finally expand upwards.
I just hope that happens before Sean Dunne goes bust.