Mícheál Martin criticises Taoiseach over reported opposition to high rises in his own constituency

Mícheál Martin has criticised Leo Varadkar's reported opposition to high rise buildings in his own constituency.

It comes as the Taoiseach encouraged councilliors to look favourably on such developments in their own areas to increase housing supply.

In an article in the Sunday Independent, Mr Varadkar suggested that high-rise quality apartments should be built at Dublin's iconic Poolbeg generating station, known locally as the Poolbeg Stacks.

Mr Varadkar also said he will "encourage balanced regional development" so that other cities like Cork, Waterford, Galway and Limerick can grow.

But in a letter to Fingal County Council dated February 2017, Mr Varadkar voiced opposition to plans for a development of four-storey apartments in Castleknock.

In his letter he writes: "To begin, four storey apartment blocks are a design model which has long fallen into disfavour.

"Yet these type of apartments are a key feature of the Absainte Ltd scheme.

"It would be grossly insensitive of local feelings to permit such dated architecture to succeed.

"The development, moreover, contravenes residential zoning objectives of the area, will be highly generative of traffic and have a negative impact on the market value of homes".

That application is currently under appeal.

The Fianna Fáil leader says houses will never be built if people's only interest is to keep the value up.

He said: "Well, I think it sums up the fundamental disconnect between the rhetoric that the Taoiseach articulates and his ministers and the reality on the ground in terms of substance and policy."

"So on the one hand they were told, in an article in the Sunday Independent, that high-rise is the way to go... meanwhile he's objecting to a high-rise development in his own constituency.

"And he's doing it on the grounds that it will reduce the value of housing around in the neighbourhood.

"Now we do want to make housing affordable for people - and if our only interest is to keep the value of housing up, we're not going to build any new houses at all".


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