Freedom to Choose (2)

A woman writes a note on the Savita Halappanavar mural in Portabello, Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty. Courtesy Irish Times

(28/05/2018) Congratulations to Ailbhe Smyth, all the campaigners of ‘Together for Yes’,  and especially our Green Party members for running a successful and informative campaign to repeal the Eight Amendment. Ed & Oisin and the team for canvasing, leaflets, erecting & removing our posters – Well Done, guys!

On a rather poor 59% turnout , Dublin South Central voted 74.8% Yes and 25.2% No. (Dublin Rathdown had 70% turnout, and voted 76.1% Yes, 23.9% No. Nationally there was a 64.1% turnout with Yes vote at 66.4% and No at 33.6%).

It was never about the 95%+ of happy births, Irish Society showed compassion by voting away an outright legal ban to help the tiny % of problem pregnancies and the mothers’ health. The struggle continues to improve the life of every family through universal healthcare, safe homes and streets, and quality education.

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Freedom to Choose

Hearing that Mr. Jean-Claude Junker, EU Commission president, was to be the keynote speaker at the 200th anniversary celebration of Karl Marx’s birth revived my memories of researching political philosophies of the 19th Century. The heated discussions on the roles of Capitalism, the State & Religion, and the Individual in Society; the authoritarian aspects of Marxism as opposed to the more democratic elements of Anarchism.

A major critic of Karl Marx’s thinking was Michael Bukunin. To quote K. J. Kenafick “The Marxian view was essentially that the State must be used to bring about and consolidate Socialism; the views of the Bakuninists (at this period beginning to be called “Anarchists”) was that the State must be abolished, and that it could never under any circumstances be used to obtain either Socialism or any form of social justice for the workers.” Whether State controls Society, or Society controls the State, or whether the State should only be local administrations or councils. Fear of the States’ Shock & Awe or winning the Hearts & Minds of Society – Top-down or Bottom-up – Centralisation or Subsidiarity politics.

The despotic regimes of Marx/Bukinin times could be compared to Donald Trump’s USA: One ruler directing a few hundred lackies to control an empire, dividing Society into friends and foes; relying on threats, police and an army to enforce His Authority. Modern “Marxist” regimes (a few leading the masses) are Putin’s Russia, Xi’s China, or maybe wannabe McDonald‘s Sinn Fein “They haven’t gone away, ye know”. When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called “the People’s Stick”.

In some aspects the Commission of Mr Junker seems happier dealing with the State & Corporate elites than with the millions of questioning voices of Society, poorly represented by the EU Parliament, but the invite was probably from todays German political party, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The world’s oldest Marxist political party founded as the General German Workers’ Association in 1863 in a world of absolute monarchies working hand in hand with Capitalists & Church, controlling press and justice, with the workers having no influence.

Michael Bakunin (1814-1876) absorbed the arguments of others like Wilhelm Weitling (1808-1871) who said: “The perfect society has no government but only an administration, no laws but only obligations, no punishments but means of correction.” Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865) can be considered as the father of modern Anarchism, for he utterly rejected the very concept of Authority, in both politics and religion. Bakunin wrote: “Society, far from decreasing his freedom, on the contrary creates the individual freedom of all human beings. Society is the root, the tree, and liberty is its fruit. It can be said that the real and complete emancipation of every individual is the true, the great, the supreme aim of history.”

More on

The reaction of people in the “Yes/No” referendum seem to mirror these age-old arguments. The “No” voice is that of Authority, Control and Religion. The “Yes” voice is of Society, Reason and Choice.

Life is living, life is changing! While I’m not wildly in favour of abortion, I would rather a doctor was party to the decision of my family, rather than a judge, lawyers, a dull line in a constitution and the shadow of a policeman at the door. I trust Society to do the best for Ireland, not the State, not the Church. My choice is to vote “Yes to Repeal the 8th”.

(28/05/2018) Congratulations to Ailbhe Smyth, all the campaigners of ‘Together for Yes’,  and especially our Green Party members for running a sucessful and informative campaign to repeal the Eigth Amendment. Ed & Oisin and the team for canvasing, leafleting, errecting & removing our posters – Well Done, guys!

It was never about the 95% of happy births, Irish Society showed compassion by voting to help the 5% of problem pregnancies and the mothers’ health. The struggle to improve the life of every family through universal healthcare, safe homes and quality education will continue.

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April 2018 Dolphins Barn Pitches

Dublin South Central (DSC) Green Party, on behalf of our supporters, are concerned by the plans to sell part of the lands of Dolphins Barn used by local GAA clubs to raise funds to build a new clubhouse with meeting rooms for the community and improve changing rooms and training facilities for the players.

Graphic of Proposed New Clubhouse

The grounds are owned by Templeogue Synge Street Gaelic Football Club who share the facilities with the Kevins hurling and camogie club and the combined clubs have a total of 44 teams – adult and children, male and female. The TSSGFC have 3 other playing fields closer to Templeogue, while Kevins rely on the Dolphins Barn fields and, while recognising the need for new player gym, changing, toilet & shower facilities, reject the proposal to sell part of the training pitches and loosing other land permanently to building works.

Quoting from an Irish Times article, “according to JJ O’Mahony, chairperson of the facilities group at Kevins GAA, the concern is not any allocation of funding, but simple access to playing space which can never be recovered once sold for property development purposes. “The key issue here is this is the only green area we have, on the edge of the most populated part of Ireland,” says O’Mahony.

DSC suggest funding should come from the central government Sports Capital Grants, DCC and philanthropic sources, without the need to sell part of the grounds.

Topics discussed at the DSC meeting included Guerrilla Gardening Day, scheduled on the 1st of May of every year, when guerrilla gardeners plant sunflowers in their neighborhoods, typically in public places perceived to be neglected, such as canal banks, neglected flower beds and roadside verges. Suggestions were for seeds of native plants.


Johnny Cloherty harvesting seaweed near Carna, Co Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

The ending of rights and commons to harvest seaweed along the Atlantic seashore  with the proposed licensing of exclusive seaweed harvesting rights to private companies with majority shareholders outside the State concerned members. The heritage of seaweed harvesting and the way local communities have protected and safeguarded the resource through sustainable harvesting practices over the generations should not be given to private and monopoly companies with ‘slash & burn’ practices. Seaweed has historically been used as a garden manure by farmers but is now used in the health food, animal probiotic, high-value fertiliser, cosmetic and therapy sectors. About 40,000 tonnes of seaweed is harvested in Ireland, more than 95 per cent of it naturally grown.

Two comments received:

1) I (Brian Kelly) as PRO of TSSGFC read you comments regarding our facilities with interest. Our statement regarding this development is here. Suggest you read in detail. To answer two specific issues raised: We will be providing more hours per week of playing facilities with our lighting and Astro etc. NOT less for the community. This is self funding and requires no taxpayer investment into our private property leaving any taxpayer funds that can sourced to be invested in even further public facilities elsewhere which would be a further win for the community .

2) Ger Doyle – We can’t let a valuable inner city amenity be lost for ever, keeping young inner city kids playing sports is worth more than any club house .

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2018 DSC Green Party March Meeting Notes and National Convention

Ed Davitt, Group Secretary and Constituency Spokesperson, welcomed members (including two new members from Germany and Canada) to the DSC monthly meeting in the Green Party HQ in Suffolk Street on Wednesday evening. 

Convention 2018

Convention 2018: Eoin Wilson gave an update about the outline of the convention to be held in The Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire on 23-25th March.  The Hotel is close to all Dublin transport links; Dublin Bus, 20 minutes by DART train line from Dublin City Centre followed by short walk to hotel, Hourly Aircoach service to and from Hotel Front Door to Dublin Airport & local Taxis.

The Hotel Car Park is underground and the barrier lifts on entry. Wheelchair accessible spaces available. The hotel is fully wheelchair accessible. WIFI is complimentary for all guests and is available in all areas of the hotel. GPS Co-ordinates 53.2923° N, 6.1337° W. Availability of overnight accommodation is limited so we would encourage you to call the hotel and reserve your room as soon as possible: 01-230 0030. Please quote ‘Green Party Convention’ when you are making your reservation. There are also local guesthouses which you can access hereGreen Party Website for Convention Booking and Saturday Night Dinner

Cllr. Ossian Smyth, Member of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, will be host on behalf of the local constituency group. He is an unpaid adviser to the European Parliament Green Energy Experts group, Green Party Spokesperson for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and a member of the Dublin Cycling Campaign.

On Friday evening the session will be open to the public and Terry Reintke MEP of the German Greens, Claire Bailey of the NI Greens and Christine Milne of the Australian Greens will all be participating in a panel discussion. Saturday will have members-only sessions on post-Brexit EU, with lots of speakers from Brussels and elsewhere. We’ve also a discussion on Housing, and EU electoral hustings. Leader’s speech is on Saturday night and the election of the executive committee also takes place on Saturday. There’s break-out sessions on community development, expansion of the franchise, recycling, feminism in an Irish context and more.


We had a great brain storm about campaign ideas this evening. What we need now is people willing to get involved and help out, to use their networks to help get the Green message out there. If you’re willing and able to offer your help, get in touch here!

ReCycling List –

Items for your Green Bin, Organics for your Brown Bin, Everything else for your Black Bin.

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Border? What Border?

I’m a ‘Live & Let Live’ observer. I’m not ‘Black & White’, more ‘all shades of grey’ or ’40 shades of Green’. An independent thinker with a global view. Not a party hack or a ‘flat-earth populist’, or a sugar-coater – ‘nothing to see here, move along please’.

I’ve spent 40 years driving across European borders. I’ve seen them all. From being stuck in ‘no-mans-land’ ‘tween Hungary and Yugoslavia, back in 1980, while each side closes for lunch – can’t go forward, can’t go back, no shelter, barbed wire, are there mines offroad? Or the EU-Turkish border in Cyprus – a rusty fence, park car, walk to kiosk, passport scanned & stamped, return to car. Or the EU borders with Belarus, Russia or Kaliningrad which on a good day take 4 hours to cross; 1) Passport Check, 2) Vehicle Check, 3) Luggage Check, 4) a man who checks the checkers before you leave the borderzone. The Estonian entry once took longer than the Russian exit! But the last trip was a dream – No passport huts from the Hook of Holland ferryport through Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia until Tallin ferryport to Finland!

But the borders we know best are by road to Northern Ireland or ferry to Wales, visiting friends and relations, football or shopping – the Free Travel Area which survived an independent Republic of Ireland! Will travel continue to be seamless after Brexit? The politicans all agree – two islands joined by common languages and history of trade – ‘No Border, No Problem’. But the faceless, nameless bureaucrats are rubbing their hands with glee – checks and more checks, visas, carnets, stamps & quotas. Where is the EU frontier, where are the movement control huts? where is the clorinated chicken?

We need to elect politicans who will leave their ideological comfort zones and tell the bureaucrats the Irish solution is  ‘Free Travel & Trade North & South, East & West’. This might best be achieved by an immediate bilateral trade deal with the blessing of the EU, and similar to the bilateral deals between eastern EU states and China (Irish Times 28/11/17).

The EU problem is in the EU, forget about frontiers. Solve the problem of 27 countries with 30+ languages, 27 sets of regulations, protected national champions, etc – No Google, No Facebook, No Tencent, No Gazprom – Why? Brussels & Berlin forget how hard life is on the periphery at times for the Irish, the Greeks, the Finns, the Portguese. If a UK frontier is needed, let it be at the English Channel/La Manche & North Sea ports with an express lane for Irish vehicles taking the direct land-route!

Does Ireland have the scale to join the EU Circular Economy? USA/Canada again!

Minimal Waste Grocery Rathmines

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Catalonia October 2017

Newspaper front page 2nd October Catalonia

My week in the sun coincided with the independence referendum in Catalonia. Despite a crash course in Catalonia’s 1,000-year history – from a buffer zone between Christian France and Muslim Spain to being a major player in the Spanish Civil War. The Catalan Republic fought against Franco’s nationalist army and in the 36 years afterwards suffered Franco’s revenge. After Franco’s death in 1975, new generations continued the struggle for independence from Madrid through parliamentary means. Domination by the Madrid government over the centuries seems to be the major issue.

In some respects, the Catalan struggle mirrors the struggle for Home Rule between Dublin and London in the 19th century. But in the 21st century Europe, conservative centralism attempts to stifle dissent by minorities by way of threats of legal barriers and threats of financial and commercial chaos on those who would ‘rock the boat’. To quote Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor of Law, HEC Paris  “due to its natural hostility towards citizens’ input, the EU is particularly vulnerable to political actors speaking on behalf of the people”. There are always at least two sides and various extremes – authoritarian and libertarian – democracy is not 50%+1, dialogue takes at least two voices and consensus must allow all parties to ‘live & let live’.

There is the example of the Dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which took effect on 1 January 1993, an event that saw the self-determined split of the federal state of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Irish Times of Saturday 14th October has several interesting articles on the Spanish situation and probable future developments in the EU as the centre faces multible local demands for independence – the stress of the plurinational states.

In response to Storm Ophelia I have added the link to website,14.42,437/loc=-11.276,51.358 .

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An Lianadh – Dublin City Transition

An Lianadh Dublin City Transition is a recently re – formed Transition Town Initiative. The Transition Town movement, began in Ireland in 2006 and is now an international movement promoting grassroots initiatives to boost sustainability and resilience in our communities. Come along to KC Peaches this Saturday. European Day for Sustainable Communities, and tell us what moves you to take on today’s big environmental and social problems. Or why not simply come a long to learn more about the Transition Towns and opportunities to engage in positive community action for sustainability! See you at KC Peaches, Dame Street at 11am this Saturday (23rd September)

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September 2017

Dublin South Central Constituency 9/2017

Dublin South Central Constituency 9/2017

Welcome to the September edition of the DSC Green Party group. The Dail constituency area is roughly bounded by the north bank of the River Liffey, Cunningham Road to Chapelizod village, Palmerstown is out but Ballyfermot is in, south along M50, east and north around Tymon Park and Templeogue R112 to Kimmage and north along the River Poddle, Sundrive, Clogher Roads to the canal and east to Harold’s Cross Bridge and north to Christ Cathederal and the Liffey. There are few straight lines as estates are in or out. There are two Dublin City Council wards within the constituency.

As the man said: “If I was going there, I wouldn’t start from here”. Dublin is an old medaevial city; the Wide Streets Committee tried to overlay straight streets and right-angle corners, (like Dawson Street, Dame Street, O’Connell Street, Talbot Street) on the old crookedness, but the old streets remain around Temple Bar, Digges Lane, and streets like Grafton Street curve to connect and avoid old buildings like City Hall, Trinity College, the Rotunda, Christ Cathederal.

We are not anti-car but believe private cars, whether electric or fossil-fueled, should not be allowed to access Dublin city centre, except in emergencies. The modern, clean friendly way – electrical/biogas buses, Luas, Dart, hybrid-taxis, with safe pedal-cycle- and pedestrian-only routes. Night-time deliveries. Priority public buses with less cross city routes. Frequent local bus routes connecting Luas and Dart stops with village centres and estates & appartment complexes. Free car parking for commuters at out-lying Luas & Dart stations. Greenway and pedal-cycle/ pedestrian-only routes along the Liffey, the Grand Canal. Stop illegal parking of cars on cycle lanes and footpaths by allowing/planning for free off-street parking in house-gardens and appartments. So many people work or study in Dublin, don’t need to drive during the week, but use their car at weekends to go home.

What local issues concern you? Contact your Green Rep Oisin O’ hAlmhain

Green Notices in Dublin South Central for September

Parking Day, Friday 15th September 2017
Parking day takes place again this year.  This is the day when parking spaces across the city are turned into mini-parks.  More at their FaceBook page

Composting Workshop, BridgeFoot Street, Saturday 16th September 2018
Free composter workshop in bridgefoot St. Garden on Saturday 16th of Sept at 10:00 ..tea provided but bring your own packed lunch ?... Stop Food Waste volunteers are going to be on hand to help

Repealing the 8th Amendment
An invitation has been received to a working meeting upstairs in Arthur's pub on Thomas Street Dublin 8 at 8pm on Monday 18th of September.  The purpose of the meeting would be to establish a broad group to campaign on repealing the 8th in the Dublin South Central constituency.

The annual March for Choice will also be taking place on September the 30th and it would be great to get as many people from our own area in to the march.

Canal clean-up: Dolphin’s Barn, 2nd Sunday monthly.

Happy City book recommended as a ‘good read’ by a member.

The Oceans after Nature’ exhibition at the Hugh Lane Gallery was recommended by another as worth visiting. “The Ocean after Nature considers the ocean as a site reflecting the ecological, cultural, political, and economic realities of a globalized world through the work of twenty artists and collectives. These internationally established and emerging artists explore new ways of representing the seascape as a means to identify and critique the various interrelated and chaotic systems of power, such as land-sea divides, the circulation of people and goods, and the vulnerabilities of our ecosystems.”

We have agreed that pub evenings with craft beer on tap is a good Zero Waste experience and endeavor to organise social evenings for members. So keep in touch.

The Scottish government is taking action against plastic pollution by introducing a Deposit Return Scheme! Deposit Return Schemes work by adding a small charge to the cost of a drinks bottle. When you return your bottle to be reused or recycled, you get your deposit back! 5c maybe be nothing to you, but 5c x 20 or x 100 is a big deal for school kids or charity volunteers, just imagine being paid to walk to school through the park!!!

What can we do to reduce Plastics:

An Lianadh Transition Initiative for Dublin is convened by Kristina McElroy, former secretary of the Dublin South Central Greens.  They can be found here on FaceBook and are well worth a follow

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August Blues

Summer is almost over, the garden is full of ripening beans, potatoes, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, courgettes, blueberries, chillis turning red; the harvest is happening all around, and we’re winding down before starting a new cycle of life next month. One event happening this weekend, 24th to 27th August, with art, talk, theatre, and film is the Kilmainham-Inchicore Community Festival. Check their facebook page for activities

AUG 27th
Waters & Community: Insects of the Canal & Angling
Hosted by Kilmainham-Inchicore Community Festival
Sunday at 12 PM – 2 PM
BERA HALL, top of Connolly Avenue, Inchicore, Dublin 8

Out of all the water on Earth, saline water in oceans, seas and saline groundwater make up about 97% of it. Only 2.5–2.75% is fresh water, including 1.75–2% frozen in glaciers, ice and snow, 0.5–0.75% as fresh groundwater and soil moisture, and less than 0.01% of it as surface water in lakes, swamps and rivers. People who use our waters like the anglers above are often at the front line of noticing what is happening to our water.

The DSCGP and the Green Party in general have, and continue to, discuss cannabis as a medicine with benefits, and/or a recreational drug leading to armageddon and the meltdown of civilization as we know it.

My Canadian cousin has put a short video on YouTube about his town’s cannabis dispensary.  It might be interesting to some as the owner talks about her stock,  her customers, and the future.

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The Camac Valley – Our Local History

Universal Basic Income by Dr. Paul O’Brien
We are very pleased to announce that the launch of ‘Universal Basic Income’ will take place on Thursday 13 July @ 6pm in Hodges Figgis. Everyone is very welcome.
This book is about a radical idea: the idea that each of us deserves enough money on which to live – and that it should be paid independently of our personal means, and independently of whether we work, or even want to work. The concept of ‘basic income’ has been discussed internationally and has the potential to revolutionise the way that society functions. It would provide greater security for the young, for the self-employed and entrepreneurs as well as reshaping the social welfare system in its entirety. In this book, author and academic Dr Paul O’Brien explores the arguments for and against the idea and explains how this very real proposal might work in practise.
Local History

The River Camac (sometimes spelled Cammock, or, historically, Cammoge or Cammoke; Irish: An Chamóg or Abhainn na Camóige) is one of the larger rivers in Dublin and was one of four tributaries of the Liffey critical to the early development of the city.

The Camac forms from a flow from Mount Seskin southeast of Saggart, to the southwest of Dublin city, and other mountain streams as well as an 18th-century diversion from the Brittas River tributary of the River Liffey. It flows through a mountain valley, the Slade of Saggart, southwest of the broad Tallaght area and east of Newcastle, then past Saggart, through Corkagh Park and then Clondalkin, near which it is sometimes called Clondalkin River. The Camac then continues on to Inchicore where it is tunnelled under the Grand Canal before a bridge crossing at Golden Bridge. The Camac runs behind Richmond Park, home to St Patrick’s Athletic and gives its name to the ground’s ‘Camac Terrace’, and Kilmainham, where it runs behind the jail museum, before entering the Liffey alongside Heuston Station, a little upstream of Sean Heuston Bridge. The river was tunnelled underneath the railway station when it was built in 1846. 

map of surroundingsLittle remains of the farms and industry that developed along its banks, and modern developments seems to regard it as a hinderance and not a benefit to the area.  One industrial building remaining is Kilmainham Mills. According to the Kilmainham and Inchicore Heritage Group, it was in continuous use from the sixteenth century until 2000.

Architectural Merits:

The DSC Constituency Group discussed how might the Mills be saved as a local example of our industrial history and operate as a community owned tourist attraction. The following information is taken from an article in The Dublin Inquirer and has been edited by myself for brevity. I’m relying on the accuracy of the original article to give the recent past. In July 2017 the site is derelict.

In 2002, Dublin City Council drew up a conservation plan for the site. It “recommended that the archaeology of the site be disturbed as little as possible and laid particular emphasis on the historical development of the Mill Race when it was internal to the Mill building,” said an Irish Times report in November 2003. The conservation plan listed  structures within the mill in order of historical importance, and was prompted by Damian Shine’s efforts at the time to redevelop the site.

In 2003, then-owner Damien Shine’s company Charona Ltd owned the site and was in line to redevelop it, with plans for 48 new residential apartments. In February 2005, Shine was granted planning permission for the 48-apartment development.  Nothing happened.

View looking northThe debts incurred from the failed 2003 redevelopment eventually came under the remit of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). Charona Ltd was liquidated, and the mills was listed on a 2011 spreadsheet of NAMA-enforced properties, circulated on

According to  the article,  Dublin City Council and a company named Kilmainham Mills Ltd tried to revive the mill and reopen it as a possible heritage centre.  Anything to do with NAMA seems messy as NAMA are mandated to get the best possible price. A further problem seemed to be that Shine lived within the grounds of the mills and maybe refused to sell or vacate the site. Whether NAMA sold the site and to whom is unclear, as there seems to be no public information.

Maurice Coen, a Kilmainham resident, established Kilmainham Mills Ltd in 2013. The company was set up at the behest of Dublin City Council, according to Coen. “The plan was that [the council] would go forward, purchase the mill and it would be handed over to our group,” he says. “We would then have a 10- to 15-year company contract to build it into a visitor centre.” When Kilmainham Mills Ltd was established, there were numerous EU conservation and heritage grants available. The idea was to fund the centre with money from some of those, he says.

“The mill’s stOisin with Ciaran Cuffeill pretty sound, but the roof is coming in in many, many areas,” says Coen. “My argument was that with every rainfall, every storm, more damage is being caused. The price of reconstructing would be dramatically increased.”

Today, it’s overgrown with ivy and weather-worn and vacant. “It was really stuck in the mud, but now it’s really stuck deeper than it ever was,” says heritage group secretary Michael O’ Flanagan. “It’s continuously deteriorating.”

A local group ‘Save Kilmainham Mill Campaign‘ with a Facebook Page meets monthly in the Patriot Inn.

Another fine example of our historical heritage within the constituency, the Iveagh Market, was discussed by the group. The developer, Mr Keane, won a tender to regenerate the market in 1996 and was given a 500-year lease on the building.  In 2007 he received a 5 year planning permission to renovate this beautiful building, and Mother Redcaps next door, and add a hotel. The permission was extended by 5 years which expires in August 2017, but has been done nothing and during this 20-year period the building has continued to deteriorate. Sad, very sad! As the tennant has neglected maintenance for 20 years, we call on Dublin City Council to now repossess this building and restore it, and the neighbourhood, to its former glory.


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