Fianna Fáil Dublin City Councillor for Glasnevin and Ballymun, Cllr Paul McAuliffe has said that the proposed overseas retail investment in Dublin North West is to be broadly welcomed but further exposes the need to develop the vacant Ballymun Shopping Centre.

Cllr McAuliffe, who is the party’s General Election candidate in the area was commenting following confirmation that leading French sports retailer Decathlon has reached agreement with Dublin City Council to purchase land close to IKEA, Ballymun. It is believed that the retailer will develop the site open one of their new stores in Ireland.

The agreed deal requires the support of all Dublin City Councillors who will initially discuss the matter at this Tuesday’s North West Area Committee meeting.

He said, “This kind of ‘big box’ retail has every potential to deliver more local jobs for people in our community and any size investment in the Ballymun area is to be supported.

I am concerned however, that more is not being done by the City Council to attract investment to the old shopping centre site which is due to be demolished in October and rebuilt with new retail facilities.

It’s somewhat difficult for the people of Ballymun to welcome good news like this on one hand when a derelict shopping centre in a prime location in the heart of our village remains idle.

“In this particular instance, city planners have informed me that the kind of development plans proposed by the French retailer are not suitable for the main street of a town but that is not to say we can’t proactively do more to attract interest from other retailers.

“If the Council can secure investment of this scale from overseas then it can certainly aim to provide decent shopping facilities for residents in the Ballymun area.

“In more recent years, poor planning decisions such as the one agreed to build Charlestown Shopping Centre on the outskirts of both Finglas and Ballymun have undermined the potential to bring shops to urban villages in North Dublin.

“The Ballymun Local Area Plan allows for the construction of 2000 new homes in the area and this coupled with the existing population should mean that Ballymun is an attractive place to open new retail businesses.

He concluded, “I will be continuing to urge the City Council to do more to attract this sort of retail and to deliver on the repeated promises made for more than two decades regarding our local shopping centre.”