Tuesday 17 June 2008

Dartmouth Square order 'not be used'

A DUBLIN city councillor has said a compulsory purchase order (CPO) on Dartmouth Square, near Rathmines, will not be completed by the local authority.

Labour Cllr Oisín Quinn said the council had indicated to him that it was not planning to serve the order, which was granted by An Bord Pleanála, to buy the park from Co Westmeath businessman Noel O'Gara. The CPO expires next Sunday.

It is understood the council fears that independent arbitration after a CPO purchase could result in a large settlement for Mr O'Gara. He has told the council it will cost €100 million to buy the square directly from him.

The businessman bought the park in 2005 for about €11,000 from PJ Darley. Mr Darley's ancestors built the square in the 1880s.

Since he acquired it, Mr O'Gara has locked the gates, pledged to set up a tile showroom, moved vehicles and a caravan on to the land, and announced his intention to turn the square into a cheap car park.

Mr Quinn said he had made it clear to Dublin city manager John Tierney that not purchasing the square would be "poor form" as his predecessor, John Fitzgerald, had indicated the order would be served.

Mr Quinn said the condition of the park had deteriorated greatly in the past three years and, while one of its gates was now open, it was no longer safe to use.

"It's in appalling condition. The square is overgrown, full of rubbish and has become a place where people gather to drink," he said. "Used syringes have been found in the area and it is now a real health hazard."

A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council said the CPO did not expire until June 22nd and no decision had yet been made on the property.

Attempts by The Irish Times to contact Mr O'Gara were unsuccessful.

Irish Times


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