Hospital looking to raise money by selling land for housing meets resistance from all local Dáil representatives.
Lands which are currently owned by Saint Patrick's Mental Health Services at Saint Edmundsbury in Lucan form part of proposed development plan for the river Liffey valley in Dublin.
900 acres of land, on both sides of the river Liffey, from Palmerstown to Lucan, are protected from development by a government Special Area Amenity Order. But adjoining lands are not.
A review of the county development plan is now underway, and proposals have been made by local landowners to Dublin County Council to rezone this land. They want to build houses on 500 acres.
Saint Patrick’s Hospital at Saint Edmundsbury is the largest landowner, on 350 acres.
A private charity, which receives no state aid, it wants to develop because it needs the money. A plan has been drawn up to build houses on 80 acres, and donate 250 acres to the County Council for a public park.
Kieran O’Malley of Saint Patrick’s Hospital explains why they want to sell off their land,
The hospital is a charity, and the only home for any funds realised is in promoting the psychiatric medical services.
The proposal faces stiff opposition from a local lobby group backed by all four local TDs Liam Lawlor, Brian Lenihan, Joan Burton and Austin Currie. They say any rezoning will ruin one of the country’s great natural amenities, by damaging woodland and wildlife, and destroying its potential for tourism and recreation.
Liffey Valley Defence Alliance is one local group fighting the proposal. Spokesperson Connie Kiernan says the hospital should re-think its proposal,
I don’t think the fact that they need money necessarily gives them the right to destroy a precious amenity like that. I mean if you were to follow that truth to its logical conclusion, you could say that the government is short of money, therefore they should build houses on the Phoenix Park.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 18 February 1993. The reporter is Paul Reynolds.