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13.43 11 Sep 2018


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A report looking into the sale of the final Magdalene Laundry site in Dublin city says a permanent memorial must be included in any redevelopment of the property.

Plans were proposed back in 2017 to sell the Sean McDermott Street site to Japanese hotel chain, Toyoko.

It was the last such laundry in Ireland and closed in October 1996.

The report, compiled by Dublin City Council deputy chief executive Brendan Kenny, says Toyoko will spend in the region of €50m on the project during construction - creating some 700 jobs.

A supermarket and other retail operations such as cafes, a hairdresser and food outlets will also be established.

An indicative image of an hotel along Sean McDermott Street | Image: Dublin City Council

 But the report notes: "Dublin City Council is very conscious of the history of this property/site (The Laundry part of the premises was demolished in 2005 following a fire) and the controversial role also played by the Magdalene Homes at other locations throughout the country.

"It is very appropriate that a suitable permanent memorial be included in any proposed redevelopment of this property/site.

"Therefore there will be a specific condition in the development agreement with Toyoko for the provision of such a memorial."

Dublin City Council also commissioned a detailed archaeological survey of the site, which it says uncovered no evidence of any burials.

But it adds that all stages of construction on the site will be monitored by a Grade 1 conservationist.

"A powerful opportunity"

On the sale itself, the report says: "We believe this is a powerful opportunity and really the chance of a lifetime for the Sean McDermott area.

"Dublin City Council uses the proceeds from such property sales to invest in other infrastructural projects throughout the city.

"In this particular case we will recommend that 50% of the proceeds (€7.25m) be specifically ring-fenced for DCC projects in the Sean McDermott Street area".

An indicative image of retail units along Sean McDermott Street | Image: Dublin City Council

The report concludes: "The site will remain vacant and undeveloped with the risk of ongoing deterioration in the condition of existing buildings and it will take some considerable time to formulate other possible plans for the site.

"We believe that this type of opportunity may not arise again in this area.

"We fully understand and recognise the acute sensitivity of the Magdalene Laundry site and we are fully committed to the development of a suitable memorial for the women who suffered awfully there but we do think that this needs to be balanced with the suffering experienced by families and young people from the area through deprivation, unemployment and very serious criminality including the ravages of drug addiction over a long number of years."

It says a formal proposal will be brought to an October meeting of Dublin City Council.

"Management will be strongly recommending that this essential redevelopment opportunity for Sean McDermott be taken and that the proposed disposal be agreed", it adds.


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