After being contacted by locals on the issue, Neasa got in touch with Hines Ireland about restoring public access to the Clonliffe College site. While Hines Ireland did assess the request to restore public access seriously, consulting with both the GAA and the Archdiocese of Dublin, unfortunately they have informed us that public access will remain restricted for the foreseeable future.
Hines Ireland’s response to Neasa can be read below and outlines their reasoning:
As Hines is one of the three relevant parties in this regard, we have consulted with both the GAA and the Archdiocese of Dublin both of whom are substantial land owners on the Clonliffe site, before replying to your correspondence.
We very much understand your position as stated but there are a number of important considerations which have a significant bearing on the landowners’ decision to restrict public access currently.
We have outlined the key reasons below:
- Health and Safety – You are correct in saying that Hines have not attained planning permission at this point in time. However, the design phase of a scheme of this scale demands a good deal of on-site activity and prior to lockdown a number of contractors were engaged in various survey works, which necessitated the use of heavy machinery and some earth moving. For example, soil boring exercises are necessary in order to test and sample the ground conditions; assessments are also required of the water table and water courses etc. These types of works, which are currently suspended, have left the ground unstable in parts and exposed at other points and would be unsafe generally for general public access to be allowed to occur. There is also heavy construction machinery and vehicles required on site for such works, and once restrictions are lifted these will be in use again. Both its presence on site combined with the accessing and exiting of the site of such equipment and vehicles, would pose an added risk were public access to be provided. Health and Safety is foremost in our minds in our decision to withhold public access to the site.
- Covid 19 – Given the current government restrictions that are in place, there has been, and continues to be, limited staff of the Dublin Archdiocese on site. As I’m sure you’re aware, the site is very large, and the archdiocese staff have previously acted as custodians over the site. The health and safety concerns combined with the lack of capacity to manage and secure the facility as a public amenity space poses a real concern to each of the landowners in terms of the public’s health and safety should they be afforded access to the site.
Regrettably, for these reasons, public access to the site will need to remain restricted for the foreseeable future.
It is worth noting that the completed development is envisaged to be accessible to the public to enjoy public walks, newly established formal gardens and the Tolka river bank. There will also be two full sized GAA pitches.