Dublin City Council Fails for Now in Bid to Buy Kilmainham Mills

Kilmainham Mills has changed hands, a spokesperson for Dublin City Council said last Wednesday.

So although the council put in an offer for the industrial heritage site last December, it seems to have lost out this round to another buyer.

The council’s offer was rejected by the receiver, according to the council spokesperson.

“It’s disappointing,” says Michael O’Flanagan, head of the Save Kilmainham Mills campaign, which aims to see it restored for heritage and community use.

Caretaking

O’Flanagan says he was cautiously optimistic when the council put its own offer in for the site back in December.

But a spokesperson for Dublin City Council says that “the new owner is Quanta Capital/Goldstein Fund”.

While that might seem definitive, it’s actually not completely clear who the new owner is.

“I cannot, as yet, confirm who the legal entity is that purchased the Kilmainham Mills site,” said Eoghan Coughlan, head of legals and acquisitions at Quanta Capital.

The old mill buildings in Dublin 8 sit not far from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and date back to the 16th century. They’re spread over 3,395 square metres.

The mills is on the council’s record of protected structures, and last November – before the latest round of talk of buying it or any sale – Dublin City Council issued an endangerment notice, too.

The council “is endeavouring to engage with the new owner but without success to date”, council Chief Executive Owen Keegan said last week in a response to a query from independent Councillor Vincent Jackson, who wanted an update on the council’s efforts the secure Kilmainham Mills.

Because Kilmainham Mills has been sold, the council needs to issue a new endangerment notice to the new owners, said Keegan’s reply.

Jackson says the new notice should be issued as soon as possible. The council has to make sure the site is protected and brought up to a decent standard, he said.

“They’re going to have to start becoming a bit more proactive with these [notices],” says Jackson. “It’s a great piece of industrial heritage in the city.”

The site is a protected structure, so “there are serious limitations on what could actually be done there”, says Jackson.

O’Flanagan says he is unclear where things stand from the council’s perspective. “It’s a quagmire to understand,” he says. He says he hopes the council will carry on trying to buy the site, but from its new owner.

“But”, says O’Flanagan, “it seems to be quite a weak response from the council”.

The council spokesperson did not respond to queries about whether the council will continue to try purchase Kilmainham Mills.

Author:

Cónal Thomas: Cónal Thomas is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer.

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