Dublin City Councillors voted two years ago in favour of trying to tick all the boxes so that five buildings on or around Moore Street, thought to have been notable in the 1916 Rising, could be put on the protected-structures list.
Then they voted again on Monday night at their monthly meeting.
That perplexed independent Councillor Nial Ring, who said he thought it was already working its way through the system. “Why was nothing done from day one when that motion was passed?” he asked.
Issues around passed motions that go nowhere, ending up floating somewhere in the council’s bureaucracy, have come up time and again in the past. This time, though, council officials said they hadn’t pressed ahead on purpose.
“We have held off giving effect to that,” said Council Chief Owen Keegan, as an act of good faith to give space for a negotiation process that was going on with national government and developers.
City Planner John O’Hara said the council had taken some steps; they had some half-finished reports from one consultant. They had also faced challenges accessing some buildings, as the owners hadn’t let them in.
“There has to be an internal inspection of each building carried out,” he said, under the statutory process for adding things to the list of protected structures.
So, councillors voted again, on a motion to instruct the council to continue with the process of adding to the list of protected structures buildings in the Moore Street Battlefield Site area: 10 Moore Street, 20/21 Moore Street, the stables of the O’Brien’s Mineral Water Building, and what is left of the White Cottage building on Henry Place, and the bottling stores on Moore Lane.
Homes in Scribblestown
Several councillors wanted to tweak plans for social housing in Scribblestown, where 70 homes are planned under a public-private partnership.
Labour’s Andrew Montague put forward a motion that half of the homes should be for people above the social-housing income threshold, but still on lowish incomes and struggling to rent.
Otherwise, he said, “services like shops are less likely to invest in the area [ … ]. This will make the model more financially secure.”
Others queried why the Department of Housing is supporting a 100-percent social housing development on this site, but pushes for developments on other sites to include a mix of different kinds of housing.
“It’s being insisted on by the Department of Housing. Mad world,” said independent Councillor Cieran Perry.
The council’s head of housing, Brendan Kenny, said that 70 social-housing units in one area is not an issue – it’s not like the larger housing estates of the past.
And if councillors put in an affordable-housing provision, it would kill the scheme as it wouldn’t fit with the parameters laid out by central government, said Kenny.
Perhaps council officials could find tenants to transfer from other social housing who are above the income limit now, and get the income mix that way, he suggested.
Plus, argued independent Councillor Ruairi McGinley, the council’s primary duty is to people on the social housing list – so he didn’t support any changes.
While some – such as Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe – said that councillors should vote through the changes, and force the Minister for Housing to delay the project, in the end, most councillors voted to press ahead with the plans for 70 units of social housing in Scribblestown.
The Apollo House Plaque
Labour’s Dermot Lacey wanted to know if the council had any role in taking down a plaque from the towering Apollo House in the inner city.
It appeared recently, a tribute to the homeless who have died in the city, on the wall of the building used last winter by activists to bring homeless Dubliners in from the cold.
“It was a mean-spirited, nasty thing to do,” said Lacey, of the plaque’s removal. “It was an insult to the people who died on our streets.”
He wanted to know if the council could contact the owners. “I would ask that representations are made to have the plaque put up for however long the building is there.”
Head of Housing Brendan Kenny said the council hadn’t had anything to do with that. “The plaque on Apollo House we know nothing about whatsoever, we have no idea.”