Re: Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

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Paul Clerkin

Council ‘afraid to force Dartmouth Square sale’

By Kevin Doyle
Evening Herald

Wednesday June 11 2008

A SENIOR city politician has said that Dublin City Council is now afraid to use a compulsory purchase order to take back Dartmouth Square from controversial businessman Noel O’Gara.

Councillor Oisin Quinn has revealed that city managers do not intend to pursue a CPO obtained from An Bord Pleanala despite the fact that it expires on June 22.

He says that city manger John Tierney is not expected to meet a commitment given by his predecessor in 2006, meaning the park might not be available to the public for years.

In February 2006, then city manager John Fitzgerald committed himself to purchasing the green area from Mr O’Gara using a CPO.

However, Councillor Quinn (Lab) says that officials are now ready to let the CPO deadline pass because of an “irrational fear” that they will face a multi-million euro payout.

The council has until the middle of this month to serve Mr O’Gara with “notice to treat” informing him that the CPO is about to processed. The courts will then decide how much money should change hands.

The Westmeath businessman bought the two-acre site in Ranelagh in late 2005 for less than €10,000, from PJ Darley, whose ancestors built the square in the 1880s.

Last month, Mr O’Gara claimed that he would be allowed to keep the square, but the council said the “clock was still running”. And when questioned yesterday, a spokesperson again said that a decision hadn’t been reached about how to proceed with the park issue.

Now Councillor Quinn has told the Herald that the council officials must come clean about their intentions.


The Herald understands that the council is worried that a settlement of over €20m could be enforced if the case goes to court. Mr O’Gara had told the council it would have to pay €100m to buy it off him.

However, residents in the square say this is not realistic.

Since Mr O’Gara acquired the land, the council have received a number of injunctions stopping him running a car park and marble shop.

They have also passed bye-laws protecting trees in the area and designated Dartmouth Square as an Architectural Conservation Area.

These moves have severely restricted Mr O’Gara’s use of the park but the council have stilled failed to have it restored as a public amenity.

Councillor Quinn wants the council to be honest with residents, noting that they have been patient for two years on the basis that the CPO would take place. “The law is pretty clear on this and tallies with common sense,” he said.

– Kevin Doyle

Get the finger out….

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