Friday, August 30, 2013

’s largest mosque gets approval from An Bord Pleanála

Irish Times - 29 August 2013


Mosque complex in Clongriffin north Dublin will cover more than 5,500 square metres

Plans for Ireland’s largest mosque at Clongriffin in north Dublin have been given the green light by An Bord Pleanála.
The three-story mosque will be located on a six acre site in North Dublin on land owned by developer Gerry Gannon.
The €40 million development will include two minarets, a cultural centre, prayer hall, offices, crèche, bookshop, library, mortuary, a six-hundred seat conference centre, restaurant, primary school, secondary school, a two-story fitness centre with an indoor swimming pool, gym, sauna and steam room and blocks of apartments.
The complex will cater for up to 3,000 people during festivals and up to 550 for Friday prayers. The whole complex is 5,573sqm in size.
An Bord Pleanala granted permission subject to a number of revised conditions including that there should be no call to prayer broadcast from the minarets as is the tradition with mosques.
It also ruled that there should be an archaeological assessment of the site prior to development starting and it called for a proposed brick wall around part of the site boundary to be replaced with a railing. It also wants nine fewer car parking spaces.
Dublin City Council granted planning permission for the mosque at Clongriffin in North Dublin last March.
Local Labour TD Tommy Broughan lodged an appeal against the decision with An Bord Pleanala.
Mr Broughan’s objections related to the size of the development and possible traffic concerns.
He said the size of the development does not comply with the objectives of the county development plan or the local area plan.
Clongriffin mosque will be the third purpose-built mosque in Ireland. The other two are in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo and at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Clonskeagh in Dublin.
There is also a purpose built Shia Islamic Centre at Milltown in Dublin. There are over 50,000 Muslims living in Ireland. Many worship in makeshift mosques in residential houses or in warehouses in industrial estates.
The Dublin Welfare Society, who are developing the project, are made up of a group of Muslims from different backgrounds and nationalities living in Ireland.
The Society is currently involved in managing makeshift mosques in Swords and Clondalkin. Both of these mosques are located in industrial estates.
Abdul Haseeb, project co-ordinator for the Clongriffin Mosque Project has said they were delighted with An Bord Pleanala’s decision. “At the same time”, he added “we are very humbled because of the scale of the project. It is so big and there is so much to do.
“It gives a sense of positivity for the Muslim community in Ireland especially when there’s so much negativity going on, particularly in the Middle East, and there’s so much tension everywhere. It gives us a sense of belonging too.”
Mr Haseeb said the next step in the development will be to build a community around it which would include non-Muslims.
He added: “We will try and make room for everyone. We are aware that there will be challenges ahead but because we got planning it gives us a good reason now to invite the local community leaders and members to come and sit down and talk to us. So far we’ve mainly introduced the project to the Muslim community but now we will start inviting and sitting down with the local community.”
Clongriffin is a newly developed area in North Dublin just north of Donaghmede. Much of the land in the locality, including the site for the mosque, is owned by developer Gerry Gannon. The site of the mosque is currently derelict.
Development in Clongriffin came to a halt with the collapse of the property market and some roads in the area were left unfinished.
Its centre square is surrounded by modern retail units but many of the units have remained vacant since construction was completed.
Local Labour TD Sean Kenny welcomed the An Bord Pleanala decision.
“The mosque would be welcomed generally by people in the area,” Mr Kenny said. “It would generate employment and lead to the completion of Clongriffin estate and some of the roads as well as completion of access to the dart station. It could also lead to greater occupancy of the vacant units.”
This Irish Times article should convince those very naïve Americans of Irish heritage who believe that the Ireland depicted in “The Quiet Man” simply does not exist today. The stark reality is that over 50,000 practicing Muslims are currently living in our beloved ancestral homeland. Statistics show that at least 70 percent of native born Irish Catholics no longer practice the faith that they were brought up in. The cold hard facts are that if current emigration trends continue, in a few short years it is estimated that multicultural immigrants will outnumber native born Irish nationals. I hope that I never see it, but statistics predict that it is inevitable. God Save Ireland!!!
Jack Meehan, National President Emeritus
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree
Proud Citizen of the United States of America and Ireland  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Over 4,000 to become ‘new’ Irish citizens

Irish Times – 27 August 2013
Some 1,816 men and 2,288 women are today becoming the Republic’s newest citizens.
The ‘new’ Irish are taking part in a series of ceremonies in the Convention Centre in Dublin overseen by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and retired High Court judge Bryan McMahon.
Addressing the first group of more than 1,000 people who swore allegiance to the State this morning, Mr Shatter said they were the 73rd group to become “part of the national family” since citizenship ceremonies were introduced in June 2011.
Mr Shatter told the candidates, whom he noted were from every continent and 170 different countries, they were joining a state “which provides constitutional and general law protections against all types of discrimination”. He said it was a state where men and women were guaranteed equal treatment under law and where people’s sexual orientation and preferences are respected.
“Our history is your history and in turn the narrative of your life becomes part of our history” he said.
Administering the Declaration of Fidelity to the Irish Nation and Loyalty to the State, Mr McMahon, said there were “no second-class or half citizens” of the Republic and urged them and their families to take an active part in Irish citizenship, while remembering the traditions, music and arts of their former homes.
Mr Shatter, who initiated the citizenship ceremonies, said he was considering legislation to establish them on a permanent footing, to ensure they continue after his term in office.
He said good progress had been made in dealing with a backlog of more than 22,000 citizenship applications in March 2011, when waiting times for a decision were at least two years and sometimes considerably more. Waiting times were now generally down to about six months, he said, while the current intake of 20,000 applications per year is running at over twice the rate of new applications three or four years ago.
“It is truly remarkable that this tiny island at the edge of Western Europe facing into the Atlantic Ocean which is home to us all has, as its citizens, as members of the national family, people who came to live with us from every country on this planet” he said.
This article and a similar one not too long ago gives testimony to three cold hard facts. They are: a.) that every native born Irish person who finds living in the land of their birth so distasteful that they must emigrate are quickly being replaced by immigrants from every corner of the globe who are eager to fill the void left by their “forced departure”; b.) if these new “Irish” bring their “traditions, music, and arts from their native countries with them to Ireland as they are being urged to do in the article above, it will not be long before the traditions, music and arts of their adopted country become relegated to the memories of those native born Irish who chose to stay at home; 3.) the country that once proudly claimed to be the most Catholic country in Europe is very quickly becoming a very secular, or perhaps more accurately Muslim one, much the same as Britain did not so long ago. I, for one, find this globalization of the land of my heritage very disturbing.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Proud Citizen of the United States of America and Ireland