Tom O'Mahony: "There’s a pretty fundamental disagreement in relation to what Inchicore needs"
St Patrick's Athletic president Tom O'Mahony fears the proposed development of St Michael’s Estate will do more harm than good for the area of Inchicore.
The site which is opposite Richmond Park will be used to build the country’s first large-scale development of cost rental housing.
St Pats had submitted proposals for the development of an Inchicore Town Centre with state-of-the art retail, leisure and community facilities on top of which would sit the club's new stadium, the 12,000 all seater Richmond Arena.
O'Mahony has told Of TheBall.com’s Darren Cleary that the approved plans fall way short of what is needed to help regenerate the Inchicore area.
“There’s a more fundamental point and this is the alarming bit, what the council said to us is that they don’t actually believe that there should be big retail facilities on St Michael’s estate because they believe that will take away from the village of Inchicore.
“Anybody who knows Inchicore well knows the village is barren in terms of retail, it doesn’t work for retail, and businesses have been deserting the area. There’s no car parking whereas we were offering a town centre with 350 underground car parking spaces, there’s a pretty fundamental disagreement in relation to what Inchicore needs, we believe Inchicore to have any hope of regeneration needs a proper town centre with proper facilities and the city council apparently don’t share our views.”
A local TD has also voiced similar concerns about the lack of amenities. Catherine Byrne, the Minister of State for Health Promotion said: “We want young people to have the opportunity get on the first step of the property ladder.
"We need young people to stay, we need young people to be part of our community and young people to fill our schools," she said.
"We need settled families, cost rental is fine if you only want to rent for a couple of years and move on, that's not possible."
“I'm really upset and sad that Dublin City Council would come to this stage and have this launch now, when really there hasn't been an input from the wider community into it.
O’Mahony is now encouraging football fans and residents of Inchicore to have their say in the consultation process, although he admits he fears it might be too little too late:
“Our next step is to engage with the council if they’ll engage with us, I don’t know if they will or they won’t because what they were essentially saying this morning was St Pats proposal was off the table and that may or may not be the case but there’s still the court of public opinion in this.
“The councillors ultimately have to vote one way or the other, if the people who live in the area express very strong views to the councillors I think they’ll take those into account, I think there’s still a lot to play for but we’ll have to wait and see.