Plans for a large-scale mosque in west Dublin, including an 29 metre (95ft) tall minaret, have been appealed to An Bord Pleanála over fears the call to prayer would cause “noise pollution” in the area.
The Shuhada Foundation of Ireland was last month granted planning permission by Fingal County Council for the mosque, community centre, and primary school on the site of Warrenstown House, a former HSE facility in Blanchardstown.
Dr Taufiq al-Sattar, a Dublin-based neurosurgeon, pledged to build the mosque in memory of his late wife Shehnila Taufiq who died along with their daughter Zainab (19), and sons Bilal (17) and Jamal (15) in an arson attack in Leicester, England, in September 2013.
Plans for the development, which would be one of the largest mosques in Ireland, were first lodged with the council just over a year ago. They were substantially revised earlier this year after the council raised concerns about the scale of the development.
Proposals for a secondary school were omitted from the final plans and a multi-purpose events hall was reduced in size.
Patrick Regan, formerly a local resident now living in Ashbourne Co Meath, has appealed the council’s decision saying there had been “no interaction” with local residents in relation to the project.
Dublin 15 was “one of the largest and most welcoming multi-cultural communities in the county” Mr Regan said. “However the large scale and size of this project represents a major regional religious and cultural centre which will serve a huge area,”he said. The centre would generate “huge potential traffic congestion” and parking issues, as well as noise pollution.
“The call to pray can often start as early as 5.30am and the last call to pray at 9pm causing noise pollution with up to 150 worshipers attending at any one time during normal day prayers without the celebration of Ramadan and other social events.”
As part of the conditions for granting permission, the council had ordered that the call to prayer “shall not be audible from outside of the site boundaries” and that no other music or “amplified sound” could be broadcast.
Dr Taufiq said the development would “comply with all of the conditions” set down by the council. “We are not going to have any music, and we told the council that in the first place.” He added that the foundation would be funding road widening as part of the development to address traffic issues.
The foundation has also submitted an appeal to the planning board against a condition set by the council prohibiting a new halal food shop as part of the development.
The new purpose-built mosque will be financed from Dr al-Sattar’s family fund, his life savings, and donations from the Muslim community in Leicester. He also has plans to fundraise among the medical community in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Source: Irish Times (Olivia Kelly)