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Business owners challenge Holiday Inn Express expansion on Dublin’s O’Connell Street | BreakingNews.ie

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Permission for the expansion of a hotel on Upper O’Connell Street has been challenged in the High Court by the operators of nearby pubs and businesses.

An Bord Pleanála upheld permission last November for an additional 97 hotel rooms at the Holiday Inn Express.

The extension of the hotel, on the corner of O’Connell Street and Cathal Brugha Street, will result in the loss of a beer garden that serves Fibber Magee’s, The Living Room and Murray’s Bar and Restaurant.

An Bord Pleanála inspector noted the application by developer Findlater House Ltd attracted a considerable number of observations objecting to the loss of the courtyard area, including from Dublin Central Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan.

She contended that the loss of a cultural space in the city centre for more hotel rooms was not in line with plans for the area.

The High Court judicial review of the board’s decision has been brought by Dublin-based Noel and Anne Murray, who have a leasehold interest in The Living Room pub; Telstar Investments Limited, Murican Limited, which have addresses on Parnell Street; and Thomclarke Real Estate Limited, with an office at Herbert Street, Dublin 2.

The applicants’ legal documents state they have an interest in surrounding sites, including 33 and 34 O’Connell Street Upper, the site of Murray’s Bar.

They are asking the court to quash the board’s decision, which came after Mr and Ms Murray appealed approval granted by Dublin City Council.

The applicants, represented by Jarlath Fitzsimons SC and Eoghan Foley BL, allege the board’s decision is unlawful as it contravenes the Dublin City Development Plan regarding plot ratio and site coverage.

Citing EU law, they say the permission is invalid as An Bord Pleanála failed to say why it decided not to subject the proposal to a particular environmental assessment. Further, the board failed to lawfully screen the project for potential harm to the environment, they allege.

The case came before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys this week, who permitted the applicants to make their claims in the High Court. He also made an order preventing project work on the site until further order.

The application came before him on an “ex parte” basis, meaning only the applicants were represented in court.

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