Love Dolphin Park is a community coming together to try to keep a precious resource for the health and well-being of children, schools and sports clubs in an area starved of green spaces.
We are concerned local residents living in the vicinity of Dolphin Park, parents and members of Kevins’ Hurling & Camogie Club, and members of the broader community in Dublin 8 and 12.
We oppose the development of 161 apartments by Belgrove Homes. Along with the redevelopment of clubhouse and parking almost a third of Dolphin Park will be put under concrete and tarmac and rendered unsuitable for hurling and large matches.
Dublin 8 has already one of the lowest proportions of space under grass in Dublin or in any city in Europe. According to The World Health Organisation “urban green space is a necessary component for delivering healthy, sustainable and livable cities. Interventions to increase or improve urban green space can deliver positive health, social and environmental outcomes for all population groups, particularly among lower socioeconomic status groups. There are very few, if any, other public health interventions that can achieve all of this.”
Dolphin Park fits this definition absolutely. Every week over 300 children use this facility, many of whom have no access to transport to alternative playing fields. The redevelopment of Dolphin Park is a grave threat to children’s rights in Dublin 8 and 12.
We recognise the need to modernise the sports facilities in Dolphin Park but selling limited green space for development is a misguided and short sighted policy. It will greatly reduce the playing space for the clubs and schools who rely on this facility. There are better options available. Once built upon green space is forever lost.
Furthermore we believe the proposed high rise apartment development will have a significant adverse impact on the surrounding neighbourhood, local residents, and the broader community.
The planning application proposes a five storey apartment development with 161 residential units. This high rise development is not in keeping with the local neighbourhood which is predominantly low rise in nature. It will be a high density highly visible development by any measure.
This high rise development will also adversely impact the suitability of the remaining green space for recreational use. The close proximity of the high-rise apartments to sports pitches is highly undesirable, and will be problematic for the playing of hurling and camogie in particular.
The proposed development will exit onto Crumlin Road which is already a heavily used commuter route. This will add a significant amount of additional traffic onto a busy arterial junction. The site entrance will not have the capacity to accommodate traffic relating to both sports and residential use, particularly on busy match days. There will be traffic chaos. This presents an inherent and ongoing risk to local residents, pedestrians, cyclists, and road-users in general as well as added difficulties to plans to upgrade public transport with the Bus Connects network.
In addition there is the related issue of overspill and visitor parking in the surrounding neighbourhood. Parking facilities are not adequate and there is no provision for overflow. On occasion there are 150 – 250 cars in Dolphin Park due to visiting teams and tournaments. This will be exacerbated by visitor parking to the 161 unit development. As there is no street parking on the Crumlin Road, there will be no option but for visitors to park on-street in the surrounding residential area.
Furthermore we have significant concerns regarding access to Dolphin Park, and health and safety risks, during the proposed build period. These have not been addressed in any way to date.
Dolphin Park is home to Light Bellied Brent Geese who are a protected species under wildlife legislation. Brent Geese winter almost entirely in Ireland, before migrating to High Arctic Canada for the summer months. Dolphin Park is a long established feeding sites for Brent Geese in Dublin.
Brent Geese fly over 50,000 km a year on a plant only diet. Preservation of their feeding sites is very important. This proposed development, and the resultant permanent loss of green-space, is entirely contrary to the favourable conservation status conferred on the species under the EU Habitats Directive.
Dublin 8 has a large population of over 50,000 including 6,114 children. The area also includes one of the highest densities of under 19s in Ireland (source: 2016 Irish Census / UCD School of Geography). It is also the most urbanised or paved area in the city, with only 6.4% public green cover (Source: European Urban Atlas / UCD School of Geography).
The Dublin 8 district has the lowest ratio of green space to population (4m2 per person). This green space includes the Luas line green grass verge and bank of the Grand Canal. Dublin 8 has a diverse social and demographic background, which includes a high degree of social deprivation. For example, only 28% of Dublin 8 children go on to higher education, compared to 99% in Dublin 6 and 82% in Dublin 6W).
A recent World Health Organisation study found compelling evidence that “urban green spaces go beyond environmental or ecological objectives and also deliver social and health benefits that increase the quality of life and well-being of all urban residents.”
The proposed development will take up at least 28% of Dolphin Park: 15% for 161 dwellings and 13% for new clubhouse and parking. This will result in the loss of potential playing capacity larger than the pitch at Croke Park.
The current pitches at Dolphin Park are already unable to meet the needs of the 48 Templeogue teams and the 26 Kevin’s Hurling and Camogie Club teams. Participation rates for both clubs are increasing so more pitches are needed not less.
Taking nearly one third of capacity will result in more children and adults being deprived of playing our national game in their community. Last year hurling and camogie became UNESCO designated protected cultural activities.
Kevin’s have been promoting hurling from Dolphin Park since 1970. Dublin’s South Inner City communities are utterly dependent on playing pitches and training areas in Dolphin Park.
Kevin’s work with 10 schools in Dublin’s south inner city, who also have no full size playing pitches and so play at Dolphin Park. Demographic/spatial analysis by Professor Gerald Mills of UCD School of Geography has shown that of the 93 GAA clubs in Dublin, Kevin’s is the 93rd and worst served in terms of green area (parks/sports pitches). We in Dublin’s south inner-city community are therefore utterly dependent on the playing pitches and training areas at Dolphin Park.
We would like specific facilities to be added to encourage the elderly and parents with very young children to benefit from a future upgrade. This has not been incorporated into the proposed development plan. The plan includes provision for an adult gym at the expense of sports fields for children (most of the 66 teams are juvenile). Adequate indoor training facilities are not being provided for children to compensate.
Hurling and camogie are UNESCO protected cultural activities. The future of these games in Dublin’s south inner city is under threat from the proposed development. Kevin’s is one of Dublin’s oldest GAA clubs with an unbroken association with to Dublin’s South Inner City since its foundation in 1902. Kevin’s Hurling and Camogie teams have been playing regularly at Dolphin Park for almost half a century since 1970.
It is disingenuous to suggest in the planning submission that there will be no loss of playing pitches. The juvenile pitch where Kevin’s run the nursery at the Crumlin Road end will be built upon. The two large valuable Crossfield pitches will be significantly reduced restricting games for young teenagers (Under 12s and below). The lands surrounding the main pitch which is currently used for training will also be lost.
Reduced playing surface area (pitches) will result in fewer children playing hurling and camogie in the South Inner City (Dublin 8 and 12). Based on the experience when camogie was previously restricted in Dolphin Park due to capacity, the numbers participating in Kevin’s juvenile camogie training and matches dropped by 25-30%.
We are not against the upgrade of playing facilities in Dolphin Park. Kevin’s Hurling & Camogie Club is willing to assist with significant financial investment in order to upgrade these facilities, while preserving the green space for sports activities.
We believe this is a better way to achieve a modern sports facility for the local community, without restricting that community’s access to green space, and adversely impacting the locality and environment.
The parties responsible for this proposed development have refused meaningful engagement on this matter to date unfortunately.
Ultimately the most effective way to voice your concern is to submit an objection to Dublin City Council here.
The last date for submission of observations is 14 May 2019. Observations will not be accepted after this date.
Information on how to submit a planning observation to Dublin City Council is set out here.
We will provide more information on how to submit on this website and related social media feeds.
‘The proposed development of 161 apartments by Belgrove Homes, and the redevelopment of the parking and the clubhouse will result in 28% of Dolphin Park being put under concrete or tarmac: 15% for 161 dwellings and 13% for the clubhouse and parking. This is area equivalent to the pitch at Croke Park.’