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The redevelopment of the Phibsboro Shopping Centre has been put on hold, says Labour Senator Marie Sherlock.

The long-awaited revamp of the 1960s brutalist building is facing setbacks due to a lack of funding, she says.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the planning permission for the project, which is due to expire in October.

If the redevelopment of the shopping centre doesn’t go ahead now, that could have wider implications too.

Developer MM Capital was to build a public plaza between the shopping centre and Dalymount Park, which Dublin City Council is planning to redevelop.

A 3D model showing the redeveloped Dalymoujnt Park and Phibsboro Shopping Centre, together.

That will not occur in the short term, says Sherlock.

“Obviously, it’s extremely disappointing,” she said. “We thought that after many, many years of waiting, we’re going to see something happen here.”

Would a delay in the developer’s construction of the plaza short-circuit the council’s plans for redeveloping Dalymount?

Don Daly, the council’s project manager for the Dalymount revamp, said that ideally the two projects would occur simultaneously.

But, Daly told the council’s Central Area Committee on Tuesday 18 April, “we do feel there are solutions that we could get around any issues there”.

A spokesperson for the council said the Dalymount design team is working on options to ensure that any delays to the construction of the plaza will not impact the delivery of the new stadium.

MM Capital did not respond to multiple requests to comment.

A Looming Expiration Date

Permission for the redevelopment of the shopping centre was sought in September 2017 by Phibsborough Shopping Centre Ltd.

The planning application said it intended to demolish part of it and build an extension with retail and restaurant units, office space, a civic plaza and 341 student bedspaces.

On 24 October, the council granted permission for that plan, with an expiration date set for 3 October 2023.

Then on 11 December 2020, the developer applied to An Bord Pleanála to switch from student accommodation to build-to-rent shared accommodation: 321 co-living spaces.

The board approved the change on 12 April 2021, although it reduced the number of co-living units to 297.

Independent councillors Mannix Flynn and Cieran Perry sought a judicial review to overturn the decision, but this was withdrawn last year, Perry says.

“We eventually agreed, so as not to hold up the complete development, to some residential units as well as the co-living,” he says.

With the planning permission set to expire in October, Sherlock says an extension could be added if the developer demonstrates that works have commenced.

“They would have to have undertaken significant works,” she says.

But due to a ban on new applications for co-living accommodation, which was signed by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien in December 2020, Sherlock says, “they would be looking for an extension onto something that is now outlawed.”

Opting to go down the co-living route was a mistake, says Perry.

“While we weren’t happy with the student accommodation, it was better than co-living, and if they hadn’t chosen that route, this may already have been built,” he said.

Knock-on Effect

The crucial factor hindering the redevelopment is funding, Sherlock says.

“As it stands, it’s not going to proceed now. So, I think we are looking at a number of years before we’ll see activity there,” she says.

Perry says issues related to funding the project should come as no surprise as many developments are on hold presently. “With the increase in cost of materials, shortage of labour and increase in interest rates, it’s sort of a perfect storm.”

At the Central Area Committee meeting last week, Social Democrats Councillor Cat O’Driscoll raised the question of whether that delay could have knock-on effects on the council’s Dalymount project.

Daly, the council project manager, says the planning permission for the shopping centre includes the plaza linking the two projects. “That planning is still there, but we are talking to them to find out where they are at.”

Should MM Capital not hit the ground running at the same time as the Dalymount project, Daly said that there are contingencies in place.

“Obviously it wouldn’t be the optimum, but we would hope the plaza plan would happen,” he said.


While the plaza might be facing delays, Sherlock says that as part of the Dalymount project Dublin City Council will be opening a new thoroughfare between the North Circular Road and Connaught Street.

Expected to be situated on the eastern side of the stadium, the thoroughfare could provide access to a community facility, which is to be situated beside the plaza.

Based on the preliminary designs submitted by the Dalymount design team to the Central Area Committee, the community facility is set to comprise a gym and multi-purpose room for meetings, exhibitions, community events and indoor exercise.

Potentially, the new pedestrian route could host space for merchandise to be sold and a cafe, Sherlock says. “While obviously, this will not be the public plaza, I think we have to acknowledge DCC [Dublin City Council] is going to create this there.”


At present, the second floor of the shopping centre’s tower is occupied by 17 artists from Richmond Road Studios.

After they were evicted from their own studios in Drumcondra last June, the artists were given a six-month licence by MM Capital to operate within the building, says painter and studio manager Maeve Brennan. “Then, it was extended for two years.”

Brennan says any delay to the redevelopment would be to the benefit of the artists. “Because it would mean we were unlikely to have to leave the space.”

But, she says, as they are on a licence, not a lease, they may still need to move out should the developer seek other tenants.

“Our tenancy isn’t as secure as we had hoped, but I think the idea would be, if possible, that they would try their best to accommodate us potentially in another building,” she says.

“We’ve been lucky with the developers, they’ve been unbelievably kind to us,” Brennan says. “We just kind of hope that nobody will want to come and take this.”

Their short-term remains somewhat uncertain, Brennan says. But in the long run, she points out that they may be set to return to their former location.

In March, developer Malkey Limited applied for permission to build a mixed-use development on the site around Richmond Road Studios. Included in the proposal were artist studios. On 25 April, the application was granted.

“That’s been amazing too, to know that we do have this long-term space that’s hopefully going to work out for us,” she says.

Michael Lanigan

Michael Lanigan is a freelance journalist who covers arts and culture for Dublin Inquirer. His work also appears in Vice, Totally Dublin, and the Business Post. You can reach him at

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