Portobello Plaza has been fenced for the next two years to allow for the construction of a hotel.
The popular spot by the canal between Rathmines and Dublin city centre was previously closed in May this year due to antisocial behaviour.
However, this time the closure is due to be more long-term and Peter Dooley from the Dublin Renters Union said the decision was “appalling” and had been made without consulting local residents:
“It’s going to be a 180 bed hotel, up to six stories high and it’s going to cost in the region of €40 million,” Mr Dooley said.
“And there’s been an agreement with Dublin City Council to take over probably up to 80-90% of the public space, which is Portobello Plaza, to use probably for the next 18 months to two years.
“So again close off a vital public space without any public consultation or involvement of the wider community which we find appalling.”
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“It just shows that Dublin City Council will bow down to developers at a whim.”
Dublin City Council denied that there had been a lack of consultation and in a statement to Newstalk said:
“There’s been regular contact with residents, local councillors, elected representatives and all parties were aware that a section of the square would be licensed to a developer during the build and that there would be a concurrent process around redesigning the square.”
Local parent Ruth called Lunchtime Live to say she found the decision “very disheartening”:
“It’s one of the very few places you can bring them [children] safely. It’s an outdoor space and a lot of people enjoy it.”
She added that she was unaware of the consultation, despite using the space regularly.
Another local resident, Sadhb, said the plaza was more important than ever because of the pandemic:
“I’m not super happy about it… There’s a lot of people here, like me, who are renting small flats in big houses… So a lot of us don’t have gardens or balconies or anything like that.
“So those kinds of public spaces are really vital for the likes of me and people who live in my area.
“So I’m really disappointed to see it gone and the fact that it’s going to be gone for up to two years, it is a real blow.
“Especially with COVID, those outdoors spaces in order to socialise are really important.”
Main image: Portobello Plaza.