Brent geese scupper Marlet’s 580-apartment plan for St Anne’s Park site

Site close to St Paul’s College in Raheny seen as critical to migrating light-bellied Brent geese

Concerns over the light-bellied Brent goose have put paid to contentious plans for 580 apartments planned for a site near St Anne’s Park in Raheny, north Dublin.

Dublin City Council refused planning permission on Friday to developer Marlet Group for its ambitious apartment plan that also includes a 100-bed nursing home for a 16.5-acre site on lands to the east of St Paul’s College at Sybil Hill, Raheny, Dublin 5.

The sole grounds for refusal were the Brent geese, which usually migrate here from “high Arctic” Canada for the winter months.

The council told Patrick Crean’s Marlet that the natural impact statement lodged with the application “has not demonstrated that the evidence provided supports the assertion that no impact arises to the Dublin Bay populations of protected Brent geese” from the proposed development.


As a result, it said, the proposed development materially contravenes a policy of the Dublin city development plan 2016-2022 for the protection of European sites, and hence would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

The Department of Housing had informed the council that Dublin Bay is the most important site in Ireland for the light-bellied Brent goose in Ireland.

‘Biodiversity issues’

The council planner’s report concluded that the design and layout of the scheme showed the proposed development would provide a high-quality residential scheme with a height, mass and scale that would sit comfortably within its surroundings. However, it said, there were “significant outstanding biodiversity issues” highlighted in its own parks and biodiversity report and in the Department of Housing report.

The city council had received more than 230 objections against the scheme. The High Court last year overturned planning permission for 657 dwellings on the site.

Planning documents lodged with the application stated that the proposal will provide 580 new, high-quality homes on former institutional lands.

Some of those to lodge objections included Dublin TDs, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Lab) and Seán Haughey (FF) who said that “of particular concern is the impact this proposed development will have on the light-bellied Brent goose”.

“They are protected birds and the development will certainly impact on them,” Mr Haughey wrote. “The long-term loss of this feeding ground is a major consideration and not enough is known at this stage as to the consequence of such a loss.”

Marlet has the option of lodging an appeal against the council’s decision.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times