Words: Eva O’Beirne
“Secret deals behind closed doors have served to rehabilitate the reputation of a dodgy, unscrupulous developer.”
The issue of “rumours” and “shady deals” to change the ownership of the Iveagh Market was raised this morning by People Before Profit councillor Tina MacVeigh.
The market, built in 1902 by Lord Iveagh, Edward Cecil Guinness, has been derelict for more than 20 years and is the subject of an ongoing legal dispute. Late last year, the Guinness family repossessed the building in the latest twist in an ongoing ownership saga.
For over 75 years, the Iveagh Market housed a large number of Dublin’s traders under a 99-year lease agreement between the Guinness family and Dublin Corporation.
It was reported last week that Temple Bar publican Martin Keane could be given back possession of the Iveagh Market as a result of ongoing negotiations with the Guinness family and Dublin City Council. Keane, who previously purchased the option to develop the site for 2 million euro, had the property repossessed when failed to develop the site despite two separate planning permissions granted in 2007 and 2012.
It appears that Dublin councillors have taken issue with Keane taking back possession of the iconic Iveagh Market, and have asked for a full report to be given at this evening’s monthly meeting of the alleged ownership deal made.
In a series of tweets this morning, Councillor MacVeigh described the ongoing dispute as “an absolute betrayal of the community of the Liberties”, noting that “despite assurances that any development would have community voice and interest at the heart of it, negotiations proceeded without community involvement and the shady deal that was done was without the input or knowledge of the community or public reps.”
Keane, who owns the nearby Mother Recaps site, planned to develop a Covent Garden-style market at the Iveagh Market along with hotel and restaurant facilities. Keane was described by the councillor as “the very person who has sat on the markets for the past 20 years and let them fall into a state of utter destruction and disrepair.”
According to Councillor MacVeigh, a manager’s report has confirmed that three parties are involved in a confidential legal mediation still before the courts. The current works are to provide hard standing for scaffolding, an architectural survey of the roof, gullies and architectural conservation.
The three parties, Mr Guinness’ company A.M Guinness Markets, Martin Keane and Dublin City Council have been in mediation since February 2021 but no overall agreement has yet been reached. It is understood that it has been agreed to carry out an in-depth survey of the building.
A previous inspection estimated that repairs could cost €23 million.
Elsewhere on District: Dubliners member John Sheahan says Ed Sheeran ‘murdered’ Raglan Road