Dáil Éireann - Volume 272 - 21 May, 1974

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Central Bank Building.

12. Mr. O'Connor asked the Minister for Local Government if he will make a statement on the position of the Central Bank building in Dame Street, Dublin in view of the fact that it does not appear to be out of line with the Bank of Ireland building and the other tall buildings around O'Connell Bridge.

Mr. Tully: My function in this matter was to decide a planning appeal following an oral hearing. I [1766] would refer the Deputy to the statement I issued on the 17th April. I have nothing further to add to that statement.

Mr. O'Connor: Would the Minister not agree that this bank, being one of the most important institutions in the country, is entitled to have the type of building that would meet our national aspirations and in view of the fact of the very heavy cost now involved to bring it back to what is required, would he not consider giving the necessary permission? It does not appear to be out of line from O'Connell Street or from any places around with other tall buildings.

Mr. Tully: I do not know what our national aspirations have to do with a breach of a planning application but I can assure the Deputy that a proposal to carry on building in a manner contrary to the planning permission given cannot be allowed. In view of the fact that there was a lengthy oral hearing as a result of which my decision was taken, I do not think I should be asked to comment further on it.

Mr. O'Connor: In view of the colossal amount of energy put into this building and what will have to be removed would the Minister not consider that some further arrangement should be made to help the situation and give permission?

Mr. Tully: I am sure the Deputy knows that when a decision is given the appellants have the next move. I have made a decision and I understand the bank are accepting it. Do I assume from what the Deputy says that he believes that for some reason this organisation, because it is very important and very rich, should be allowed to carry out unauthorised building?

Mr. O'Connor: No, but it is an institution of State. It is not that it is rich——

An Ceann Comhairle: No arguments.

Mr. Haughey: Would the Minister for Local Government confirm that Dublin Corporation, the appropriate [1767] planning authority concerned in this matter, originally sanctioned or gave permission for a building 176 feet tall on this site?

Mr. Tully: All I had before me was whether or not the Central Bank should be allowed retain or to erect a building which they were attempting to build. The decision was taken on that and what happened previously or is likely to happen in the future is not a matter at issue.

Mr. Haughey: In view of the fact that the planning authority of Dublin Corporation in the early stages granted permission for a building 176 feet tall and that there is a fairly widespread feeling among the people of Dublin that it would be a major inconvenience and an unnecessary expense, to lower the building now that it has been put up to this height, would the Minister, now that he has asserted the validity of our planning laws, consider as a deus ex machina intervening and endeavouring to bring about some compromise which would obviate the expense and the inconvenience of lowering this building?

Mr. Tully: No, for three reasons. The first is that anybody who wanted to make representations, such as Deputies O'Connor and Haughey have been making here, had his opportunity to attend the public oral hearing where he could have said what he felt should be said. Secondly, I do not believe that because an organisation is very rich they should be allowed to break the planning laws and, thirdly, I do not agree that I should be asked in this House to make a decision on or to make a comment on something which was done or was not done by Dublin Corporation before this planning appeal came before me.