‘We’re not a dumping ground’ — Marie Sherlock speaks on new apartment development at Cross Guns site

The residential scheme aims to build 198 apartments in buildings up to 12 stories tall.

Phibsborough’s old bakery site will be completely demolished (via

There are ongoing planning developments for new, high-rise, Build to Rent (BTR) apartments at the Cross Guns site in Phibsborough, Dublin.

The development is to include a small café, a plaza, along with both resident and visitor car parking spaces.

Locals in Phibsborough have gathered to campaign against the demolition of the old bakery site and the ‘unnecessary dumping’ of ‘expensive’ BTR buildings in the small community.

Senator Marie Sherlock of the Labour Party spoke to The Liberty about the campaign and the status of the proposal approved by An Bord Pleanála.

Sherlock said Phibsborough residents support the idea of additional housing, but not when people aren’t given a chance to own their own homes.

“We’ve seen a lot of planning improvements for the Cross Guns site over several years, none of which have materialised yet,” said Sherlock.

“People behind the campaign passionately believe in building houses for people who want to live in the area and for those who like their area, not expensive Build to Rent apartments,” she added.

We’re not a dumping ground and we aren’t prepared to just have anything planted in the community.

Marie Sherlock, Labour Party

The new development was approved by An Bord Pleanála’s former deputy chairperson Paul Hyde in May 2021. Still, no further action has been taken as residents continue to resist the destruction of the €7.2 million-valued site.

The Cross Guns campaign has successfully raised money to challenge the development through judicial review in the courts. A pub fundraiser managed to raise just over €29,000, out of the €60,000 needed to bring the proposal to court.

“The campaign has been very successful in raising money to face the judicial review, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Sherlock.

Promotion for the fundraiser (via Cross Guns Campaign Facebook)

“An Bord Pleanála is defending the housing project that they’ve granted permission to, but we know that the planning rules are going to change.”

“We now have a crazy situation where the developer has pulled out of the judicial review and An Bord Pleanála is now contesting the judicial review instigated by residents against the planning proposal.”

Anna Phelan, a contributor to the Cross Guns campaign said that a court hearing will take place at the end of the year. She hopes that the planning permission will be overturned like in previous campaigns.

“There was a similar campaign in Dublin 8, that resulted in the developer lodging a new scaled-down planning application. The original permission was for 22-storey, shoe-horned towers in a low-rise residential area. It will now be a much lower scheme, more sustainable and sympathetic to its surroundings,” said Phelan.

“We very much hope that the Cross Guns development will result in a similar outcome, with well-designed housing suited to becoming long-term homes and respectful to the ecology of the Royal Canal,” she added.

“The cost of land in the city is enormous and with the planning conditions of the Build to Rent being of lower standard in terms of floor area and storage. So, there’s a huge issue with both the substandard nature of Build to Rent apartments and the fact there’s is no chance of long-term purchase,” said Sherlock.

“I’ve rented in the city for many years. It’s meant to be a natural part of living in the city, but we also need to be able to allow people to be able to buy.”

The Labour senator also believes that construction is a “big concern” that will cause disruption to the ecology of the nearby Royal Canal.

Sherlock said that if housing were to be built it must have a purpose and not be “something planted in the middle of somewhere”. The canal needs to be operational during the construction and people deserve to still “use it” and “enjoy it”.

Image of the Old Bakery Site building in Phibsborough (via Nicole Kealy).
Campaign signs are scattered around the neighbourhood (via Nicole Kealy).

“We’re not a dumping ground and we aren’t prepared to just have anything planted in the community […] We want people to spend the rest of their lives here, in a community, rather than just implementing substandard accommodation to maximise a developer’s pocket.”

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