Re: Re: Dartmouth Square Disgrace

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From Todays Irish Times – ignore the headline, the key story is DCC are not CPO’ing Dartmouth Square 😡

Gormley to tighten law on parklands

MINISTER FOR the Environment John Gormley has pledged to tighten regulations surrounding parklands and to assist the residents of Dartmouth Square after Dublin City Council decided not to serve a compulsory purchase order (CPO) on the Rathmines park.

The square has been a source of controversy since it was purchased by Westmeath businessman Noel O’Gara, who has since locked the park gates and said he intended to build a house or turn it into a cheap car park.

Mr O’Gara bought the park in 2005 for about €10,000 from PJ Darley, whose ancestors built the square – the last to be formally laid out in Dublin – in the 1880s.

A CPO granted on the park 18 months ago was not completed by Dublin City Council due to fears they might have to pay a settlement in the region of €20 million to Mr O’Gara for the land.

Mr Gormley last night told The Irish Times that he had met with the council and local residents.

“What I made clear was that if there are any measures or legislation they require, I will give them my assistance without any delay.”

The Minister said he has been stressing the need for a parklands policy since he assumed the position last year. “Green spaces need to be adequately protected and I feel this has to be worked on. They are increasingly important now due to population increase which creates an extra need for such amenities,” Mr Gormley said.

“We don’t have legislation in place to give adequate protection to our green space and we are working with the heritage council on ensuring this is achieved.”

The council said it was with regret that it announced the decision not to complete the CPO, but it has left the door open for further discussion in the future.

“We have been advised that if we proceed with the completion of the compulsory purchase process to arbitration stage we would expose the city council to the possibility of a substantial and financially prohibitive award.

“It should be noted that the city council remains amenable and open to holding further negotiations with Mr O’Gara to effect a reasonable settlement in order to keep the park open to the public,” the authority said in a statement.

South Dublin Labour Party councillor Oisín Quinn said locals were not happy with the council’s decision and that Dartmouth Square had become a health hazard. “It’s in appalling condition. The square is overgrown, full of rubbish and has become a place where people gather to drink.”

Mr Quinn said the sensible and prudent decision would have been to follow through with the order and bring the square back into public ownership. The councillor said fears over a potentially large settlement through arbitration were unfounded, as Mr O’Gara had paid very little for the park and because of the designation of it as a conservation area.

“A legal expert told us the conservation designation of the Dartmouth Square area means that the park, irrespective of the zoning, would have no development potential. It would only have nominal value,” Mr Quinn said.

Attempts by The Irish Times to contact Mr O’Gara last night were unsuccessful.

It is disgraceful that DCC are so useless so as not to be able to close the CPO on this; what the blazes is the Law Agent Terence O’ Keefe paid for? Why is it that CPOs that DCC get involved end up being a total fuck-up; remember the O Connell St Carlton saga where former assistant city manger Sean Carey quietly sold on without putting out to tender? It all stinks.

I dont know which is worse, DCC’s total ineptitude – or the total xxxx, which Noel O’ Gara you are – as we know you read this, and you are a miserable excuse of a person and a blight on the face of humanity

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