Retirement of Eileen Gleeson
Councillors paid tribute to two city council officials who are set to retire this month at the full monthly council meeting.
Lord Mayor and Green Party Councillor Hazel Chu thanked both Mary Clarke and Eileen Gleeson for their service to the city.
Clarke, an archivist, has worked in the council since 1979 and “has been a constant help to the councillors and staff at Dublin City Council”, said Chu.
Social Democrats Councillor Mary O’Callaghan thanked Clarke for her contribution to the Arts and Culture Committee. “While listening to her and taking notes I decided that wasn’t good enough, I had to turn on my voice recorder,” she said. “The knowledge was just incredible.”
Gleeson is the director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE).
“She has shown great professionalism and humanity in the work in these challenging times,” said Chu.
Other councillors paid tribute to Gleeson’s hard work, dedication, commitment and professionalism.
Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan wished her the best. “She has always maintained her humanity, her dignity and her professionalism.”
The way Gleeson performed her duties had made a difference to the people who are most vulnerable in the city, he said.
Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Heney said Gleeson was “a top class official”.
Heading up the DRHE “was one of the most thankless tasks that anyone could be handed”, said Independents 4 Change Councillor Pat Dunne. “You were never going to win.”
Gleeson was very hardworking and often responded to queries after hours and at weekends, he said.
“Sometimes she got bad press,” he said. But we defended her on the housing committee, said Dunne.
In 2017, Gleeson drew criticism from some homeless campaigners when according to the Irish Times, she said that people became homeless as a result of “years of bad behaviour”.
“She is a model public servant,” said Fine Gael Councillor Ray McAdam. “The treatment dished out to Eileen Gleeson … was appalling.”
Gleeson will finish up on Christmas Eve, said Chu.
Clontarf Cycle Scheme
The tender process for the Clontarf to City Centre Cycle Scheme, which will run from Clontarf Road to Talbot Street, could start this month, depending on approval by the council’s Corporate Projects Governance Board, says a report presented to councillors at the monthly council meeting.
The tender process should take around three months and so a contractor should be selected in April 2021 and construction could start in July 2021, says the report.
The cycleway should be built in 18 to 21 months, says the report.
Traffic diversions will be needed to make way for construction works, which include significant public realm upgrades, says the report.
“Consultation with stakeholders, including residents and businesses, along the route will commence in January 2021.”
Councillors welcomed the progress. It is “great news, full speed ahead on tendering the contract”, said Fine Gael Councillor Naoise Ó Muirí.
Soap and Rebellion
The large red-brick building at 139-149 North King Street will be added to the record of protected structures following a recommendation from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The building near Smithfield was once a factory making soap and candles under the name of Phoenix Soap Factory in the late 1800s, says the report.
Part of the two-storey structure was owned by James Crean & Son in 1889 and according to the report was occupied by the military during the 1916 Rising.
A sketch of part of the property on a letterhead from 1916 shows that the “distribution of bays and profile of window opening appears largely unaltered … as well as the positions of the integral carriage arch and shopfront”, says the report.
Originally made up of several buildings, James Crean & Son extended the factory in the early 1920s when they bought numbers 141 to 144, says the report.
Despite several extensions to the original, it looks like it was originally all one building.
“It is concluded that 139-149 North King Street was constructed over a number of phases with the earliest section dating to the latter decades of the nineteenth century,” says the report.
“The later phases of the building’s construction respected the design of the earlier building, creating a harmonious block that appears as a single building.”