Words: Ellen Kenny
Dublin City Council applied to have their case struck out at Dublin District Court on Tuesday, while the artist collective Subset fears this is simply a “tactical move”.
The dropped case concerns three public murals made by the collective across Dublin: “The Horseboy” mural in Dublin 7, “Think And Wonder” on the side of Granthams cafe in Dublin 8, and a painting of naturalist David Attenborough on the South Circular Road, also in Dublin 8.
The council pressed charges against the artist collective, labeling the art work an “unauthorised development” that did not receive the necessary planning permission. In a 2019 letter to Subset, the council described their “Think And Wonder” mural as “advertising.”
Subset contested these charges and were due to be in court this Thursday and Friday.
However Stephen Hughes BL, for the council, suddenly asked the court to strike out the case.
Although the council have now requested for the case to be dropped, Subset have submitted that they are still entitled to legal costs. According to Michael O’Donnell SC, for Subset, the collective incurred “enormous expenses” over the last four years it has been preparing its defence.
O’Donnell so said the court was entitled to know why the council dropped the case so suddenly.
O’Donnell said his defendants fear that this move by the council was merely “a forum shopping exercise”, and that future proceedings might still be lodged against the collective.
The case has been adjourned by the presiding judge until September, where they will hear from both sides on the cost issues involved in dropping the charges on such short notice.
Subset has had other artwork removed from Dublin city walls, such as the Stormzy mural in 2017.
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