STATEMENT BY ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC FC
Monday, July 23, 2018
St Patrick's Athletic FC is very disappointed with today's announcement on the proposed development of St Michael's Estate as it represents a huge missed opportunity for the community of Inchicore and the wider area. We are pleased that there will be a public consultation process and we will engage fully with this in the hope that the proposal can be expanded to deliver a better result for the community.
Every benefit that is included in the announcement, including housing, retail and community facilities, can be delivered on a bigger and better scale under the alternative proposal put forward by St Patrick's Athletic, which is based on the use of two adjacent sites - St Michael's Estate and Richmond Park - as opposed to the one site covered by the announcement. Our plan as designed incorporates 520 housing units across the two sites.
The Town Centre which our proposal would deliver for Inchicore was widely recognised to be a "game changer" which would provide regeneration, employment and vastly improved retail and community facilities for a community which has been badly left behind in the Celtic Tiger era and subsequently. This can be delivered side by side with the complete housing package set out in today's announcement.
In our view, the â€œsupermarket and/or smaller retail unitsâ€ and limited community facilities, which the announcement suggests could be delivered in a later phase, falls very far short of what Inchicore needs if real regeneration is to take place.
In addition, our proposal would provide a new stadium for a club which has been integral to the community for many generations, a stadium which would be an asset not just for Irish football, capable of hosting various level European and international ties but also other events. The concept of having a stadium above retail in a Town Centre environment is tried and tested in Europe.
The redevelopment of Richmond Park would incorporate the long-held ambition of the Council to open up the River Camac walkway and generate access from all the new housing units to public open spaces.
Since our proposal was published we have been very encouraged by the widespread support which it received in the local community and from many public representatives who have a deep understanding of Inchicore and its needs.
Some days ago, we were informed by Dublin City Council that an announcement was imminent which would not include our proposal. The reasons which were given for rejecting our proposal, such as, for example, that it would require variations to the Dublin City Development Plan, are issues which could be resolved if there was a willingness to accept that the benefits of our proposal far exceed those of the alternative. Indeed, we have discussed earlier versions of our proposal with the City Council, at the highest level, on a number of occasions over the past decade, and until now they were always supportive and did not raise any difficulties in relation to the development planning aspects.
It was also suggested that our proposal carried the risk of delaying the project. We believe that it can be delivered as quickly as the alternative but, in any case, given the long history of inaction on the site, a further small delay would be a small price to pay for getting the right outcome.
We have a responsibility to the local community to continue to pursue our proposal, which can be compatible with the housing objectives of today's announcement, and we will continue to do so. In particular, we will share with the City Council an independent retail study which shows that a development such as ours would be critical to the regeneration and revitalisation of Inchicore.
The response we received from Dublin City Council included a commitment to support the redevelopment of Richmond Park and/or the development of alternative grounds for St Patrick's Athletic. While our preferred option remains the development of an arena as part of the redevelopment of St Michael's Estate, we will also engage with the Council in relation to this commitment.
St Patrick's Athletic FC