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Apartment blocks up to 19 storeys to go ahead on contentious Dublin 8 site

Three-year legal battle over Bailey Gibson and Player Wills sites ends after residents ‘reluctantly agree’ deal

A three-year legal battle against the construction of two build-to-rent and co-living schemes on the sites of the former Bailey Gibson and Player Wills factories in Dublin 8 has been brought to an end, paving the way for apartment blocks up to 19 storeys tall.

US property group Hines bought the former Player Wills cigarette factory and Bailey Gibson packaging plant sites on the South Circular Road, which had been in the control of Nama, in 2018, but has been unable to develop either site due to legal actions taken by local residents.

Hines was granted permission in 2020 by An Bord Pleanála for 416 homes with a 16-storey apartment block on the Bailey Gibson site. In 2022, the board granted the developer permission for the construction of 732 apartments across four blocks with one building rising to a height of 19 storeys on the Player Wills lands.

Judicial review proceedings were taken by local residents against both developments. In 2021, the High Court referred aspects of the Bailey Gibson case to the European Court of Justice. Earlier this year the case was determined in Hines’ favour but this was then appealed to the Supreme Court.


Aspects of the challenge to the Player Wills permission were also referred by the High Court to the European Court of Justice.

On Tuesday, Hines confirmed “proceedings have concluded on both the Bailey Gibson and Player Wills sites”.

It is understood that talks with the residents’ association have been ongoing for some months in an attempt to reach an agreement which would allow construction to begin on site.

In a statement, the Dublin 8 Residents’ Association said following “extensive negotiations”, it had “reluctantly agreed to conclude the judicial review proceedings concerning the proposed development of the Bailey Gibson and Player Wills sites”.

It said: “In addition to a community fund, the developer has made concessions addressing community concerns.”

While not confirmed by either party, it is understood the fund is in the region of €750,000 and that legal costs will be covered by the company.

Player Wills site

However, the residents’ association stressed: “No committee member or individual received any financial settlement as part of this agreement. The association is deeply grateful to all those who supported its campaigns to protect the amenities, character and environment of the area.”

Local Labour councillor Darragh Moriarty said details of the community fund “will need to be scrutinised and Hines must be held to upholding their side of things. Further, the details of whatever community concerns have been addressed and any possible planning implications will also need to be scrutinised”.

Mr Moriarty said while he disagreed with elements of the development, including the co-living and build-to-rent aspects, “at least now we have certainty and can move on with a huge development of homes in the Dublin 8 area”.

It is expected Hines will now work with the Land Development Agency (LDA), which is developing the adjoining former St Teresa’s Gardens flat complex, which will include a 15-storey block. An Bord Pleanála earlier this year granted permission for more than 540 social and cost-rental apartments at the site. Initially the LDA intended to build 700 apartments in blocks up to 22-storeys tall, but it scaled back these plans following local and political opposition.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times