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The developer behind the plan to transform the former ferry terminal in Dún Laoghaire Harbour into one of Europe’s largest technology campuses has pulled out of the project after discovering that owner of the building had failed to secure the necessary foreshore licence to lease the building.

Philip Gannon secured planning permission two months ago to bring the ferry terminal building back to life as a 7000sqm Harbour Innovation Campus where leading global companies would innovate and collaborate with start-ups, SMEs, academic institutions and state enterprise agencies to develop and apply advances in technology.

However, Mr Gannon has terminated his lease on the ferry terminal building after it emerged that the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company, which earlier this month moved under the control of Dún Laoghaire County Council (DLRCC), had failed to secure a foreshore licence to lease the building despite advertising it for lease two years ago.

The move comes after Mr Gannon had spent more than 12 months negotiating the lease, and experienced long delays waiting for BER certs and approval for operating plans from DLRCC in addition to long delays with the planning process.

Mr Gannon said: “It is very disappointing to be told that seven weeks after receiving planning permission, the landlord does not actually have any legal right to lease the building”

In a statement from DLRCC they said that “the original agreement for lease on the buildings associated with the Harbour Innovation Campus project was with the landlord Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company prior to the transfer to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on 3 October 2018.  This Council welcomed the leasing of the former Ferry Terminal building and the proposed use as an innovation centre”.

“The Council granted planning permission for this change of use on 31 July 2018 (  and following the transfer of the Harbour earlier this month the Council had visited the building and met with the new leaseholder. Approval in principle to the foreshore application was granted by the Department of Housing Planning and Environment on 1st October 2018 and had been referred to the Chief States Solicitors Office for drafting. The Council was taken aback at the press release Monday 29th October from the developer with regards to the Harbour Innovation centre. Clearly this is a very disappointing development

The Council is at the early stages of management of the Harbour and will be preparing a fully integrated plan that benefits the appropriate future development of both the Harbour and the town of Dún Laoghaire and surrounds to ensure that both assets support each other. The use of the ferry terminal building will, if this project does not proceed, form part of that plan.

The Council still supports the project and believes it can proceed at this location which would provide a transformative space for business and will also impact so positively on the town of Dun Laoghaire”

. Cllr Barry Ward, Fine Gael, Dun Laoghaire Co Co gives Bryan Fox his take on the situation

      Barry Ward