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Art and Design / February 18, 2022

Dublin City Council and SUBSET get their day in court

Art and Design / February 18, 2022

Dublin City Council and SUBSET get their day in court

Words: Shamim de Brún

Dublin City Council is now taking Subset to court for alleged breaches of planning laws for three public murals.

The murals in question are David Attenborough’s mural on South Circular Road, “Horseboy” in Smithfield, and “Think and Wonder” on Grantham Street. Subset has decided to fight legal proceedings concerning these murals.

Proceedings were initiated in 2020, and there is now a district court hearing scheduled in March. Subset has complied with previous enforcement proceedings on twelve across the city by painting over the murals or replacing the mural in question with a new work of art.

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Under Irish law, organisers of public murals need planning permission. Subset says Dublin is behind the times and is calling on the government to liberalise murals rules. They say that Ireland should embrace street culture like Brooklyn and Melbourne, where artists are free to paint murals in certain zones providing permission has been granted by the building owner and the content isn’t political.

Subset maintains all their murals have been painted with permission and consultation of the building’s occupants or owners.

In an interview with The Guardian, an anonymous spokesperson representing the collective said: “We have put forward proposed amendments to the laws in conjunction with architects, solicitors, but we were left just going around the houses; speaking with city council representatives, Arts Council representatives, ministers and really to no avail.

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“We thought the only way we could actually grab the attention and focus of the city council was to engage in the legal proceedings that they have brought against us because we have tried on multiple occasions to have this conversation and got nowhere.”

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