by Shamim de Brún
Dublin City Council refused Marron Estates LTD permission to alter The Cobblestone. This produced an atypical weather-front of news stories about Dublin’s cultural battlefield.
The public won this skirmish in an ongoing series of battles against the commodification of Irish culture.
This decision from DCC is only the start of plans for the protection of the Cobblestone. Dublin is Dying is a grassroots organisation set up to protect cultural spaces. Today they released a statement saying we “have every reason to expect an appeal to this decision”. This would place the issue in the hands of An Bord Pleanála.
They stated that they “will continue to oppose these plans at every stage of the process. We hope to engage continued public support”.
There has been an exponential rise in the number of hotels in Dublin in recent years. Dublin is Dying say they are turning their “attention to highlighting the inadequacies of our current planning systems”. They hope to “effect lasting change to ensure future planning proposals for the Cobblestone site respect the importance of this cultural bastion.”
Up until very recently, the desire to fight for the preservation of cultural spaces was limited to small number of passionate groups. Now that Dublin’s cultural heritage is increasingly up for sale, that cause is appealing to more and more people.
The back to back news about Merchants’ Arch and the Cobblestone in late September rallied many previously ambivalent people and culminated in multiple protests. What the Cobblestone debacle taught us is that we are strong when we are united. Dublin is Dying said in a statement released today; “We learned about the State’s planning process, and our democratic rights to establish sense and order in what is being done with our City”.
The statement urged people to write to their “elected officials- Councillors and TD’s and demand action” before outlining a 3 point plan for long term change.
The group hope to secure a democratically elected mayor for Dublin, maintaining it is “long overdue”. They called on the city architect to “step up” and ensure a density standard would be developed to prevent an over-concentration of hotels, student accommodation and buy to rent in pockets across Dublin.
The statement ended with a hopeful reminder “Dublin’s not dead yet”.