The Dublin Docklands Development Authority has insisted that the U2 tower development has not been jeopardised by last week's High Court decision that it can grant fast-track planning for exempted developments only if the proposal is consistent with the planning scheme.
"The Section 25 Certificate issued for the U2 tower is for 130 metres high, consistent with the planning scheme for the area," a spokeswoman for the authority said. However, an energy centre on top of the building is reported to increase its total height to 180 metres. A consortium comprising Ballymore, U2 and Paddy McKillen is to develop hotel, retail, and residential accommodation in the Norman Foster-designed tower. However, a final deal has not been signed between the DDDA and the consortium.
Last week, Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan ruled that the DDDA's agreement with Liam Carroll's North Quay Investments for development of office buildings to be occupied by Anglo Irish Bank and O'Donnell Sweeney Eversheds in return for ceding land was ultra vires.
The judgment stated that the clause in the agreement between Carroll and the DDDA that committed the authority's executive to recommend to its board fast-track planning "seems to me as a matter of common sense, that a board… will inevitably rely considerably on any recommendation made to it by its full-time executives… This commitment, coupled with the benefit which the [DDDA] will obtain if the certificate is granted, appears to me to be the crucial factors which create a reasonable apprehension of bias in the decision to be made"
The judge also concluded "regretfully" that the DDDA "has incorrectly approached" its planning certification powers.