Council Short Takes: Phibsboro, Poolbeg, Wolfe Tone Park and the Coach Houses

Dublin city councillors are still trying to sort out the mess they created when they accidentally rejected a local area plan for Phibsboro, without realising exactly what they were doing.

At Monday’s monthly meeting of the council, the city’s chief executive, Owen Keegan, said he would be up for putting in place an environmental plan, which councillors could put some of their lost Phibsboro initiatives into. That would likely include works like tidying up footpaths, and bringing in more greenery.

Other parts of the lost plan could be incorporated into the council’s Draft Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022. “That’s by far the quickest route of retrieving those, and making sure they provide guidance for future development,” Keegan said.

Parallel to that, Fine Gael councillor Ray McAdam had put a motion before Christmas to initiate a new plan for Phisboro. In other words, to reset the process. In response to that, Keegan has said he’ll present councillors with a list of the local area plans to be done, and they can decide the order they’ll be done in – and where Phibsboro might fall in it.

Later, McAdam said he’s going to continue “to push for prioritisation of the Phibsboro local area plan among my colleagues”. Key, he argues, will be the support of Sinn Fein councillors, who are likely to have their eyes on their own areas, where local area plans have also been promised.

This Is a Stand Off Worth Almost €5 million, Folks

As much as the Dublin City Council’s city manager Declan Wallace wants the issue to be marked as resolved, it isn’t. After all, the issue here is piles of money: roughly €5 million, as some see it.

An Taisce’s Joe McCarthy has put forward a strong case to suggest that the community in Poolbeg is being short-changed by the folks behind the waste-to-energy project there. Wallace said they aren’t. An Bord Pleanala has refused to adjudicate, saying it isn’t their call. You can read the background here and here.

At Monday’s council meeting, Anti-Austerity Alliance’s Michael O’Brien, Fine Gael’s Paddy McCartan, and independent Mannix Flynn made it clear that they do not consider the issue finished. They want someone to rule on it.

“To bring in somebody independent, I think would probably solve the issue,” said Flynn.

Wolfe Tone Park

There has been a bit of discussion over whether Wolfe Tone Park in the centre of town, which has been promised a makeover with greenery and trees, also needs a new cafe.

On one side: councillors such as Green Party’s Ciaran Cuffe and Labour’s Rebecca Moynihan, who argue that it’s important to “animate” public spaces, so they aren’t just dead, bleak squares. On the other side: councillors such as independent Mannix Flynn, who suggest there’s plenty of coffee in the city centre.

On Monday, the former grouping won, as councillors voted to grant a licence to a new tram cafe in Wolfe Tone Park.

The Stephens Green Mews

Councillors also voted on Monday to dispose of the last two surviving Georgian coach houses on Stephen’s Green.

They went to Anville Properties Ltd, which has plans to make them into a cafe, bar and food hall.

There had been a slight flutter in that plan, as some favoured granting the premises to the Little Museum of Dublin, the social history museum that overlooks the site.

But nobody opposed disposing of the property to Anville, the highest bidder, after the Little Museum of Dublin dropped its bid.

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Lois Kapila: Lois Kapila is Dublin Inquirer's editor and general assignment reporter. She covers housing and land, too. Want to share a comment or a tip? You can reach her at [email protected]

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