Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby Ryano » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:25 pm

FIN wrote:ha,ha...
not to be the devil's advocate or anything as feelings on this can be very high but the man own's the land.the lease is up and wasn't renewed and therefore the owner has the right to do what he pleases with it. i think abp and the high court overstepped their boundaries and he will be vindicated in the supreme court or europe if he wants to take it that far. for abp to include " or reputed owner " stinks of personal opunioin instead of objective thinking. he has a case. and then will sue the council to get his money back. he was on today fm yesterday evening. he bought the land for a good price and fair play to him. if any of us had the chance we would jump at it too. it may never be re-zoned but hope value is a lot. fair play to him.

Good letter in Sunday's Tribune which answers that argument pretty well:
More Captain Boycott than Michael Davitt From David D'Arcy

AN OLD example of chutzpah is a man convicted of murdering his parents pleading for leniency on the grounds of being an orphan.

An updated Irish definition might be an absentee landlord citing the approval of Michael Davitt for his stated intention to destroy a beautiful public park (Dartmouth Square) for his own aggrandisement.

Noel O'Gara made just such a claim in his interview (Review, 17 September).

However, the famous 'Three Fs' which summarised the campaign of Davitt's Land League, were clearly not intended to establish unfettered freedom for wealthy property owners to do with their land as they wished.

On the contrary, the demands for Fair Rent, Fixity of Tenure and Freedom of Sale effectively sought to circumscribe the absolute property rights of landowners to apprise them of their responsibilities to the greater public good and to achieve some balance of fair-ness with other stakeholders.

Far from being a "small farmer with a few bits of property, " as he describes himself, O'Gara is in fact a wealthy land speculator who has more in common with the landlord class of the 19th century which he claims to despise, than with the common man of the 21st, on whose side your article laughingly purports to place him.

He is completely heedless of the effects of his actions on those who live near his property and has had no qualms about disparaging them frequently and unfairly in media inter-views, not least in your paper.

Similarly, he is not above insulting other disinterested groups, notably the Travelling community (who to their credit told him to sling his hook) and, in your paper last week, the people of Clondalkin.

All for the purpose of portraying Dublin 6 residents as selfish villains who expect to avail, at the expense of the public, of a private park from which they will exclude people not to their liking.

This is a travesty of the truth as the park was open to all until O'Gara padlocked it and barricaded it prior to announc-ing his intention to build upon it.

I am at a loss to understand how a man who so blatantly seeks to enrich himself to the detriment of the general public, and who has been so quick to misrepresent history, should meet with such approval from your staff.

The opening paragraph describes him as acting for the public benefit (without providing a scrap of supporting evidence), your pull quote allows him to repeat the lie that the park at Dartmouth Square was only available to the residents of the square, and the author urges us in the concluding sentence to "wish [O'Gara] well in his endeavours."

I suspect Michael Davitt would have urged a complete boycott of this grasping opportunist. And that he would have been horrified by the Sunday Tribune's hero worship of him.

David D'Arcy, Percy Lane, Dublin 4.
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby kite » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:41 pm

[quote="Ryano"]There is still a dispute over the ownership of the site - I'm not sure of the details, but apparently DCC have said that Patrick Darley's title was "deficient", and this is one of the reasons they never bought it. Presumably the same applies to O'Gara's title, but it would probably have to go to court before this is resolved.

:confused: I may be wrong but my understanding of the Derelict Site Act 1990 is that DCC could have purchased the site under a CPO and "clean" the title under the 1990 Act?
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby Ryano » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:51 pm

kite wrote::confused: I may be wrong but my understanding of the Derelict Site Act 1990 is that DCC could have purchased the site under a CPO and "clean" the title under the 1990 Act?

This CPO should give them clean title to the site, but I expect that the question of the existing title will have to be resolved in order to decide on who is entitled to compensation. I don't think the Derelict Sites Act comes into it as the site could not be said to be derelict.

Crucially, it seems O'Gara's actions in closing the park and using it as a car park made the case for the CPO. If he had left it open as a public park ABP may have decided that there was no immediate necessity for the Council to acquire the land.
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby kite » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:56 pm

Ryano wrote:This CPO should give them clean title to the site, but I expect that the question of the existing title will have to be resolved in order to decide on who is entitled to compensation. I don't think the Derelict Sites Act comes into it as the site could not be said to be derelict.

Crucially, it seems O'Gara's actions in closing the park and using it as a car park made the case for the CPO. If he had left it open as a public park ABP may have decided that there was immediate necessity for the Council to acquire the land.


:cool: Point taken, that makes perfect sense, thanks.
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:22 am

Houseowners have landlord they never knew about
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WELL-heeled residents of Dublin's Dartmouth Square have a landlord they didn't know about.

Westmeath businessman Noel O'Gara has revealed that he is the owner of the ground rent attached to about 20 properties which means that, if one is sold, he's entitled to a cut of the proceeds.

Mr O'Gara, who says he bought his interest in the houses "for a song", stands to make hundreds of thousands of euro if there are any sales of the properties or part of the sites.

Last year part of one house's garden was sold for redevelopment for about €750,000, and homes can fetch up €4m on the open market.

The controversial property speculator, who came to the public's attention earlier this year when it emerged he purchased Dartmouth Square park for less than €10,000, bought the ground rents six years ago.

The situation arose because, when the houses were sold in the late 1800s, a condition of sale was that an annual nominal rent was payable to the developer over the lifetime of the leases - most of which are for hundreds of years.

The Darley family, who built the square in the late 1800s, have not collected the rent for years because the amount payable is so small. However, they accepted an offer from Mr O'Gara six years ago to purchase their interest.

Mr O'Gara says he might consider sending out bills for back rent to residents already furious at his actions in relation to the park.

Caretakers

Dublin City Council signed an agreement with Mr O'Gara earlier this year to act as caretakers of the park. The agreement recognised that Mr O'Gara was the owner, although the council had spent 20 years contesting the title.

Mr O'Gara says that he will appeal a compulsory purchase order that has been granted to the council for the park - all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

He is questioning the constitutionality of the planning acts, saying that they forbid landowners from developing their land as they see fit.


I really think its time that ground rents were abolished
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby ctesiphon » Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:37 pm

Paul Clerkin wrote:I really think its time that ground rents were abolished


Anyone else see a certain level of hypocrisy in embracing the concept of ground rent and rejecting planning legislation? I wonder what Michael Davitt - Mr O'Gara's apparent spiritual advisor in matters of the land - would make of it?

As quoted above by Thomond Park:
"...Irishmen had fought for their land for centuries only to have control of the land passed to bureaucrats in the city council."

I'd love to hear your justification, Mr O'Gara, if you're around. 'Freedom of Sale' indeed.
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From Phoenix Magazine: Noel O’ Gara’s Reward

Postby hutton » Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:49 pm

I suspect this may amuse, seeing as Mr. O'Gara is so universally loved around here :p

The Phoenix Magazine wrote:
From Phoenix Magazine, page 8, Oct 6, 2006:


[B]Noel O’]

AMIDST the controversy over Dartmouth Square, speculation has been rife as to the amount that Noel O’ Gara may get if the compulsory purchase order (CPO) goes ahead – a debate that has not been enlightened by local TD and justice minister Michael McDowell circulating a letter suggesting that the land may be of a value in the region of €100 Million. McDowell later claimed that this was a misprint, and that he had meant only €1 Million.

However, the new Tánaiste appears to have overlooked the fact that compensation paid to owners who have their land CPO’ed is never based on “hope value”, but is in fact based on the value of its use at time of acquisition.

Known as the “Pointe Gourde Principle”, the legal basis for this stems from a 1947 case that was adjudicated in the House of Lords. In short it means that if somebody owns a sweet shop making 10 per annum sited on an acre of land in a city centre, if the property is CPO’ed, the owner gets compensated only on the basis of loss of commercial value at the time, i.e. in that case primarily on the €10 per annum lost. In this case, O’ Gara owns a park that was freely accessible without charge – meaning that the “O” in O Gara may yet come to mean “Zero” vis-à-vis Dartmouth Square.

Back in 1998 Navan-based developer Eugene O’ Connor pulled a similar stunt with Belgrave Square in Monkstown. In that instance, O’ Connor was reported to be looking at a variety of uses – such as opening dog kennels etc. Promptly the residents made O’ Connor an offer and it is believed he walked with a tidy profit.

However since then the introduction of the 2000 Planning Act changed the rules, in particular with provisions such as section 212 which make it a lot easier for a local authority to enact a CPO.

Had O’ Gara played his hand more shrewdly, and not been so greedy, he could perhaps have applied to build a residence in a corner of the Square – and probably would have got it! Under Z9 zoning, which is used to demarcate amenity and recreational areas, there is a clause that permits a residence for a green-keeper’s house or some such. In this case that may have allowed him to build an exclusive “Park Attendants Lodge” – which subsequently on the open market may have fetched anywhere between 2 – 5 Million – instead of which Noel “Zero” Gara may yet end up with just a hefty legal bill. How very unfortunate.



Poor "Zero" Gara :D
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby PVC King » Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:02 pm

That is an interesting interpretation of the Pointe Gourde principle; I do however feel that if it were fully applied the value of the land in the 'no scheme world' would be what a willing lessee would pay to a willing lessor over a term of years the multiple of which would be required to go to arbitration in the absence of agreement. In short Dublin City Council are the only potential lessee of a municipal park for a very considerable distance so whatever rent they were prepared to pay would be the only rent that could be agreed; as per the multiple it would be secure so a yield of say 3% would be fair. I'd say his interest would be worth €3,300 assuming an annual rent of €100.
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby MrX » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:25 pm

Remember that many of the fundemental rights in the constitution, particularly those around property owenership are circumsribed by a clause that allows them to be overridden in the interest of the greater good!

I honestly doubt his constitutional challenge would hold any water in court at all.
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby tamhlacht » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:44 pm

I am watching this case with close interest for a number of reasons,

- it shows what a state we are in with regard to developers greed motivating and shaping our city.

- it shows a lack of procedure and proactive thinking by local authorities not to see this situation coming if already approached by this owner to buy the land from him

- it also shows the contempt held in some quarters for our environment in Dublin

- my own father has applied 5 times to park his car in his 70 foot front garden instead of on a narrow laneway 2 streets from Dartmouth Sq - only to be refused by the planners every time - despite a precedent being already established on the row of 8 cottages !

- I would like to see a precedence be set for all local authorities with regard to high amenity spaces as I am a supporter of the call to complete the Dodder Valley linear park through Tallaght to its source.

This would return the unique trout fishing river - flowing through a European capital city - to public use and public enjoyment. However the controlling council SDCC do not see the value of a CPO in this instance and there is a case before ABP at the moment to have 5 storey apartments built in the Valley which will prevent the completion of the park from Rinsgend to the Dublin mountains source.

There is a complete lack of consistency across our local governments value system on our declining green space and there seems to be huge poiltical appetite to support such campaigns in D 6 than in the less well off D16 and D24.

I will watch with avid interest !
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby cobalt » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:30 pm

From today's Irish Times:
Tiles on show in Dartmouth park
Fiona Gartland

A south Dublin city park which was the subject of a court injunction to prevent its use as a car park, is to be used as a "showroom" for its owner's tile company.
Marble and Granite Tiles will open a "portable showroom" at Dartmouth Square, Ranelagh, this morning, according to its owner, Noel O'Gara.

The square was at the centre of a controversy last year when Mr O'Gara, Ballinahowen, Athlone, Co Westmeath, attempted to open a public car park there.
He claimed he had purchased the square from the Darley family, which owned it since it first opened in the 19th century.
Dublin City Council got an injunction to prevent Mr O'Gara opening the car park and subsequently applied to acquire the square by compulsory purchase order, which was granted by An Bord Pleanála.
However, negotiations concerning the value of the land have not been concluded.

Mr O'Gara said yesterday he was entitled to do what he wished with his own land, including opening a tile showroom there.
"The site will be an ideal showroom for my business," he said.
"I don't see that I'm doing any harm to anyone. I have a constitutional right to open a business there if I want to."

On Saturday, Mr O'Gara attempted to erect a sign at the park to advertise his business. Following complaints from local residents, a planning enforcement officer from the council inspected the park.
He took photos and informed Mr O'Gara that if he attempted to open his business, he would be in breach of planning regulations, as it would amount to a change of use of the site.

The park is zoned for open space and amenity.

However, Mr O'Gara said he would continue with his plans and would erect a sign and stands for his tiles, which he would transport to the square daily.
He has also advertised Dartmouth Square as the location of his showrooms on the side of his company van.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Chris Andrews said he was surprised and disappointed that Mr O'Gara would decide to breach planning regulations after a process had been put in place to deal with the square.
"It is very serious that he can challenge planning procedures in such a bare-faced way," Mr Andrews said.
"His action highlights that he is clearly an opportunist and devoid of any social responsibility."
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby PVC King » Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:16 pm

Sounds like it might just possibly be a plan hatched in Humphreys between Mr O'Gara and the local cumman to make the local FF canadate appear strong on planning breaches.

I am very happy that Mr O'Gara has acted in this way as it clearly displays the lengths he is prepared to go to elicit compensation from the ratepayers of the city.
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:10 pm

Oh great! I was just thinking I needed to go tile shopping. And now a new outlet has opened near where I work.

Anyone else feel like going shopping? Say, tomorrow at lunchtime? I'm sure Mr O'Gara would be delighted to have the custom as a way of putting his new venture on the map.

Shall we say 1:30 pm? And don't forget, the customer is always right! :)
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby Alek Smart » Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:55 pm

Mr O G will,of course have many customer service staff on hand to ensure his valued customers do not SLIP TRIP or FALL whilst on HIS property.....;)
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:03 pm

Oh I wouldn't dream of doing it deliberately- that would be just wrong.

But if I were to slip on a tiled floor (as it surely will be?) having had to walk across damp grass to get to the premises, then who knows what courses of action might be open to me...?
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby phil » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:16 pm

Is it an organic tile market?;)
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby PVC King » Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:15 pm

Council investigates new use of Dublin square
Monday, 5 March 2007 17:24
Dublin City Council is investigating whether a breach of planning regulations has taken place at the controversial Dartmouth Square in Ranelagh, following the opening of a portable tiles showroom on the site.

Businessman Noel O'Gara, who claims he is the owner of the square, opened the showroom today.

The Council says it is considering its response to Mr O'Gara's latest use of the square, up to and including legal action, depending on the outcome of the investigations by its enforcement officers.

A long dispute began last year after Mr O'Gara tried to turn the square, which has been traditionally used as a public amenity, into a car park.

Dublin City Council obtained an injunction against the car park and secured a compulsory purchase order.

But the purchase has not yet happened because of disagreement over the value of the land - the Council has offered Mr O'Gara €100,000, but he says his valuers have advised him that the land is worth €175m and 'it would cost €100,000 just to paint the railings'.

This afternoon members of the public can buy slabs of imported granite in the square from Mr O'Gara's business.

Residents in houses around the square are incensed and say the use of the square as a tiles showroom is irregular.



It is time for this charade to be brought to a swift conclusion in two parts firstly by the granting of an injunction and the jailing of Mr O'Gara for contempt in the place of court should he breach same in relation to the change of use to retail.

The quote that it would cost €100,000 to paint the railings no doubt uttered as 'a hundred grand' which I dispute as he could go to Yorkshire and get the locals to do it for a lot less.

Secondly DCC should just push this into arbitration as Mr O'Gara holds a heavily encumbered interest and would lose on costs if his claim is for €175,000,000 as once his claim is denied then costs will automatically be awarded against him. Not even the very emminent Joe Rea could get him a result on this; I think that the City have offered him a multiple of value on this one but were probably right to do so just to expose him fully.
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:53 am

Dartmouth Square put up for sale
The Irish Times

The owner of Dartmouth Square park, who is embroiled in a row with Dublin City Council over the site, has put it up for sale. Noel O'Gara said he is seeking in the region of €100 million for the park, whose freehold title he bought for €10,000 in 2005. The Athlone businessman has been embroiled in a high-profile row with the city council and residents of the area over the square, which he says he wants to turn into a car park and apartment complex.

The two-acre park is zoned as an amenity and open space area, and Dublin City Council has placed a compulsory purchase order on it. It is also the subject of a High Court injunction preventing its use as a car park. Mr O'Gara now has a caravan in the park from which he is selling tiles. The city council has also threatened planning enforcement proceedings over the tile business.

Yesterday Mr O'Gara said he would be seeking offers similar to the €50 million an acre which was paid for the Burlington Hotel site. He said Allied Auctioneers in Terenure would handle the matter and he claimed there would be considerable interest in the site. "There's lots of Irish men who are very wealthy today, who may say this is a chance to make €50 million," he said.

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2007/0328/1175003351740.html
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:44 am

In the last three weeks, it would appear the asking price for the site has dropped from €175m to €100m.

Maybe I'll just wait another 4 weeks until it had fallen to €0 and he'll throw in the caravan for free? And perhaps a few square metres of quality granite paving?
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby hutton » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:19 am

ctesiphon wrote:In the last three weeks, it would appear the asking price for the site has dropped from €175m to €100m.

Maybe I'll just wait another 4 weeks until it had fallen to €0 and he'll throw in the caravan for free? And perhaps a few square metres of quality granite paving?


Lol

Looks as if Phoenix last October might have called it right about "Zero" Gara :D
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby PVC King » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:29 pm

He will get €100,000.00 from DCC as per their formally binding offer which he shall consider and accept or refer to arbitration if he feels aggreived.

There is no brochure for the site. The site is open form interested parties to view and the auctioneers are not conducting accomapnied viewings on site as is normal for development land transactions. The auctioneers are claiming that DCC have not served a requisite notice and are backtracking on their original intention to purchase the square.

I am therefore very surprised as to why he is selling his interest and why he has instructed Allied Auctioneers who appear to be a specialist property management firm as opposed to development land specialists. One wonders if DTZ, JLL, Lisney, Bannon, Savilles and Colliers were offered this?
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby PVC King » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:44 pm

ctesiphon wrote: And perhaps a few square metres of quality granite paving?


Ha ha :D :p :D ;) :cool:
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby SeamusOG » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:19 pm

But the whole thing is just seriously ridiculous.

Obviously most people who've visited and posted on this thread, have expressed their disbelief as to how this could have happened. I agree with almost all of them.

But how did it happen? How on earth did we reach a situation where a public park is now being sold off by a private individual? For upwards of €100 million.

This whole episode belongs with Bob Fleming, Ted and Ralph and the "suits you" Tailors on "The Fast Show".

Honestly, it wouldn't be out of place.:confused:
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby PVC King » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:41 pm

Seamus

I agree with your Macro take on this; DCC shouldn't be in a position where the reversionary interest wasn't bought; they should used the many obvious flaws in the folio to their advantage to depress the price as no doubt Mr O'Gara did.

However on the sale I strobgly disagree that the site is for sale for over €100m in any real sense.

If I were advising a client on the sale of a major parcel of land you would be talking about instructing CRBE or JLL or DTZ i.e. a major player with a dedicated land division who has handled 9 figure transactions on a regular basis i.e. someone who is a market maker as well as an agent. In this instance we are supposed to believe that a local auctioneer in Terenure with no website listed in a google search is capable of securing such a sale.

A 9 figure deal

There is a couple of hours of good drama in this one
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Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

Postby SeamusOG » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:23 pm

PVC King wrote:If I were advising a client on the sale of a major parcel of land you would be talking about instructing CRBE or JLL or DTZ i.e. a major player with a dedicated land division who has handled 9 figure transactions on a regular basis i.e. someone who is a market maker as well as an agent. In this instance we are supposed to believe that a local auctioneer in Terenure with no website listed in a google search is capable of securing such a sale.

I'm sure that's very true.

It's quite clear that Mr O'Gara is taking the piss, and I would expect that if development were ever really envisaged on the land, that people like Carmencita Hederman, her daughter, or any of the other local dignitaries would have been much more vocal in their opposition. This suggests to me that they know a way will be found.

I mean, there's been a bit of kerfuffle, but not the uproar that one would expect if the sale/development of the land was a real threat. Mr O'Gara probably wanted to have a bit of a dig at "Dublin 4", missed marginally, and the city council will find a way out.

But I'm amazed that they even allowed this situation to happen.
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