How high can we go – IDA asks Dublin City Council


The IDA has irked some of the elected members of Dublin City Council over its lobbying to allow more skyscrapers in Dublin’s docklands. Some councillors, it appears, are just not feeling the love from the State investment agency.

The Irish Times reported this week that the IDA is at odds with the council over restrictions to be imposed on building heights in the Grand Canal/North Lotts area. Already home to multinationals such as Google and Facebook, it is to be subject to fast-track planning rules following its designation as a special economic zone.

The IDA, which has repeatedly warned that Dublin is running out of the sort of shiny, large-scale buildings that multinationals like to call home, outlined its concerns in a submission during a public consultation held by the council. It wants more “flexibility” on building height.

Dermot Lacey, the leader of the Labour group on the council, contacted the paper to complain that the IDA had not outlined any concerns to him, which he found “contemptuous”. “IDA didn’t bother to talk to the councillors. Why didn’t they make contact with us? I didn’t get any submission. Perhaps this tells us more about the attitude of State bodies to democratic structures,” he said.

Lacey said it appeared the IDA “simply want to be able to plan the city as they wish. I prefer to plan it for Dubliners.”

Following the consultation, the councillors voted on the plan. It appears they still intend to limit building heights across most parts of the zone. This will surely be to the chagrin of the agency tasked with attracting multinationals.

Why didn’t Lacey read the submission that the IDA had sent to the council as part of the consultation process to set guidelines for developing the new economic zone? “I didn’t see it. We got many submissions and I read dozens of documents, but my energy is usually directed at the ones sent directly to me.”

So did he vote on the plan without reading any of the submissions sent in by the public? Doesn’t that make the whole consultation a pointless exercise?

“I get paid €16,500 to be a part-time politician. I don’t have the time [to read the submissions]. We rely on information provided to us by [council staff].” An eye-opener, no doubt, for those who spend hours slaving over such submissions. Source: The Irish Times

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