Ikea driven to offer home shopping site to ease traffic

Fans of Billy bookcases who dread the thought of trudging through Ikea’s north Dublin superstore can breathe a sigh of relief: the Swedish home furnishing giant is promising to provide online shopping in Ireland in the coming weeks.

In fact, it may be forced to do so. The Green Party has asked Fingal county council to require Ikea to offer online shopping and home-delivery services to cut the amount of traffic on the M50 and on Ballymun’s Main Street.

Under the conditions of Ikea’s planning permission from An Bord Pleanala, it should have established an “e-commerce/home shopping service, which includes home delivery” within one year of the Ballymun store opening. However, eight years later shoppers still need to travel to Ballymun, or to a new “order and collect” point in Carrickmines in south Dublin.

The original planning conditions also stated that customers should have to pay for car parking, and the proceeds should be used to subsidise home deliveries for those who travel to Ikea using public transport or taxi or who shop online. However, parking at the Ballymun store is free.

Ikea charges €29 for home delivery in Dublin and the surrounding counties but up to €69 for delivery to regions in the south and west.

The chain said it was “reviewing the planning conditions to ensure that
all conditions had been addressed”.

It also admitted that “the launch of the shop online channel has taken longer than expected. A number
of factors need to be considered. As well as securing the technical capability of our website, we must also ensure we have the right distribution network in place”.

Fingal county council said it would “review the planning history of the development, including all planning compliance submissions and consider planning enforcement if appropriate”.

The enforcement request to Fingal was made by Ciarán Cuffe, a Green councillor on Dublin city council. Cuffe made the request after it voted last week to allow Ikea to rent a 1.5-hectare city-owned site for €660 a month as an overflow car park at weekends.

Several councillors backed the car park. Ruairi McGinley, an independent councillor, argued that Ikea had “brought economic life to the northwest part of Dublin”. Noeleen Reilly of Sinn Fein said Ikea was a good employer and should be supported.

The council said the rent for the overflow car park reflected its relatively low level of usage and the fact that Ikea constructed it.